Yes guitarist Steve Howe has teamed up with the band’s current frontman, vocalist Jon Davison, for Love Is, his first solo album since 2011. It will arrive in stores on July 31st.
“I called the album Love Is because it hints at the central idea that love is important but also love of the universe and the ecology of the world is very important,” Howe said in a statement. “Alexander Humboldt went around the world and recognized we are destroying the planet, but that was 200 years ago! We are still destroying the planet and, I suppose, my songs show the yearning I have for the love of nature and how beauty, art and music all stem from nature. There is a theme about those things, love, beauty, ecology, nature and wonderful people.”
Half of the songs are instrumental and Howe plays nearly all of the parts himself, although Davison plays bass on five tracks, and his son, Dylan Howe, handles the drums. “I invited Jon Davison to sing harmonies with me and add bass on the songs,” Howe said. “If he was singing on the songs I thought ‘why doesn’t he play bass’ as well and it turned out nice. He’s been with Yes for seven or eight years and he’s a great guy, great performer and a great interpreter of Yes songs.”
Howe and Davison originally planned on performing the 1974 Yes LP Relayer on tour all across Europe this year. The COVID-19 outbreak forced them to bump the shows to 2021 and cancel their appearance on the annual Cruise to the Edge prog-rock cruise, along with a handful of North American dates.
With the exception of the band’s 2017 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, original Yes frontman Jon Anderson hasn’t performed with the group since 2004. But in recent years, he has played alongside fellow Yes alumni Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin in the offshoot band Yes Featuring ARW. That group was originally plotting a farewell tour for 2020, but there has been no information on those plans in many months.
Fans continue to hope the two feuding Yes camps will unite into one for a big tour, but that remains unlikely. “I would give the first rehearsal half an hour before somebody walked out,” Wakeman told Rolling Stone in 2019. “It would happen before we even decided what to play or how to play…If you were going to write something, how on earth would you do it with so many people? It would be really, really difficult.”