Re: Phil Ehart
I really respect Ehart's playing as well. Somebody mentioned that he feels a bit stiff - I think this is true, but a lot of it has to do with the recording technology back then. It makes everything sound really dry and un-resonant, so it's impossible to get a really big, fat, or legato sound like we can today. Of course, maybe that's just the sound that he likes. Regardless, he is a technical master.
I think Kansas laid down the foundations for epic rock and metal bands later on. So many of those songs are full of interesting time changes and strange movements between them - a lot like what you hear epic metal bands doing today. Kansas is like a Dream Theater from the 70's to me, but with a more natural sound.