Steve Hackett Announces Release of ‘Surrender of Silence’

Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett, releases his new studio rock album Surrender of Silence on 10th September 2021, via Inside Out Music. The album features 11 new songs as Steve has been working hard through Lockdown and, for the first time, has completed two studio albums for release within the same year! 

Hot on the heels of his classical-acoustic travelogue Under A Mediterranean Sky, which was released in January and hit Number 2 in the UK Classical Album Chart, Surrender of Silence is a further exploration of Hackett’s love of world music, discovering different sounds, moods and textures to deliver a rock album of extraordinary variety, power and beauty.

As with Under A Mediterranean SkySurrender of Silence was also recorded during Lockdown and, again, Hackett has called upon some of his musical friends from across the world to contribute. Hackett’s regular touring band of Roger King (keyboards, programming and orchestral arrangements), Rob Townsend (sax, clarinet), Jonas Reingold (bass), Nad Sylvan (vocals) and Craig Blundell (drums) are supplemented by Phil Ehart and Nick D’Virgilio (drums), the vocal talents of Amanda Lehmann, Durga and Lorelei McBroom, Christine Townsend (violin, viola), Malik Mansurov (tar) and Sodirkhon Ubaidulloev (dutar).

This new album is full-on electric…

“Lockdown cobwebs are blown away in one fell-swoop here!” says Steve Hackett. “With the monster rhythm section of Jonas, Craig, Nick and Phil along with Rob’s soaring sax and bass clarinet, Nad, Amanda and myself on vocals, Roger’s darkly powerful organ and my guitar, we plunge full-pelt into that wild release of energy.”

Our journey takes us from the classical orchestrations of Russia (Natalia) to the plains of Africa (Wingbeats) to mysterious Eastern shores (Shanghai To Samarkand), all via the ocean’s depths (Relaxation Music for Sharks (featuring feeding frenzy)). The Devil’s Cathedral pools the talents of Hackett’s entire touring band and features King’s atmospheric Gothic organ and a powerhouse rhythm display from Blundell and Reingold.

Hackett’s vocals have never been bettered and his duet with Amanda Lehmann adds emotion to Scorched Earth a lament for the environmental horrors facing our planet. Throughout Hackett’s guitars add a rich tapestry of colour with soaring solos and intricate weaving melodies.

“It’s a ‘no holds barred’ album,” adds Hackett, “riding that wave, unleashing those demons, dreams and nightmares, all crashing together over the shore.
“I enjoyed the power of this album allowing my guitar to scream in joy and rage… and once again flying across those oceans to distant lands. It’s terrific to connect creatively with musicians from far flung places, particularly when we’ve all been unable to meet. We all have a voice in our cacophony of sound and we cry out together in the Surrender of Silence!” 

Surrender of Silence track listing:

1. The Obliterati (02:17)2. Natalia (06:17)3. Relaxation Music For Sharks (Featuring Feeding Frenzy) (04:36)4. Wingbeats (05:20)5. The Devil’s Cathedral (06:31)6. Held In The Shadows (06:20)7. Shanghai To Samarkand (08:27)8. Fox’s Tango (04:21)9. Day Of The Dead (06:25)10. Scorched Earth (06:03)11. Esperanza (01:04)

Steve Hackett shares writing credits with both Jo Hackett and Roger King on several tracks. All tracks were recorded by Roger King and produced by Steve Hackett with Roger King at Siren. 

Surrender of Silence is released on 10th September 2021 as a Limited Edition CD+Blu-ray Mediabook in hardcover slipcase, Standard CD Jewel case, Gatefold 2LP+CD & LP-Booklet and Digital Album via Inside Out Music.

About Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and gained an international reputation as the guitarist in the band’s classic line-up alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Hackett’s intricate guitar work was a key element of Genesis’ albums from Nursery Cryme (1971) to Wind And Wuthering (1977) including the classic Selling England By The Pound.

After leaving Genesis at the end of 1977, Hackett’s solo career, which now spans more than 30 albums, has demonstrated his extraordinary versatility with both electric and acoustic guitar. Hackett is renowned as both an immensely talented and innovative rock musician and a virtuoso classical guitarist and composer and this was recognised in 2010 when he was inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame. He has also worked alongside Steve Howe of YES in the supergroup GTR.
Hackett’s compositions take influences from many genres, including jazz, classical and blues. For his later studio works The Night Siren (2017) and At The Edge Of Light (2019) Hackett has explored the influences of world music. Recent tours have seen Hackett celebrate his time with Genesis 

including a spectacular 2018 tour in which he realised a long-held ambition to perform the works of Genesis live with his band and an orchestra. 
The lockdown enforced by the 2020 global pandemic has proven to be a particularly creative period for Hackett. He began by releasing Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith, a live recording of 2019’s hugely successful tour celebrating that Genesis classic together with the 40th anniversary of one of his most-loved solo albums. Lockdown also gave Hackett the opportunity to write and record two new studio albums, the UK Classical Chart hit Under A Mediterranean Sky and the forthcoming Surrender of Silence.

Asia: The Reunion Albums: 2007 – 2012 – Box Set Out Now!

ASIA, the multi-platinum selling English supergroup, formed in London in 1981, celebrate their 40th anniversary with a 5CD boxset The Reunion Albums: 2007 – 2012 through BMG.

Watch the unboxing here:

Buy it here: https://asiaband.lnk.to/reunionalbumsPR

This 5CD deluxe clamshell box set features the 2CD live recording Fantasia, Live In Tokyo together with the three reunion studio albums Phoenix, Omegaand XXX.

ASIA took the world by a storm with their eponymous debut album, globally the biggest-selling album of 1982. The single Heat Of The Moment, a huge soft-rock anthem, reached the top 40 in over a dozen markets, peaking in the U.S. at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

The four original members of ASIA – John Wetton (King Crimson, lead vocal/bass), Steve Howe (YES, guitars), Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, drums) and Geoff Downes (The Buggles, YES, keyboards), reunited to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2006 and 2007 with a world tour.

A live album from the tour Fantasia, Live In Tokyo was released in 2007 as they returned to the studio together for the first time in a quarter of a century. The reunion would yield three stunning albums Phoenix (2008), Omega (2010) together with XXX (2012) as they celebrated their 30th anniversary.

Of these later albums Carl Palmer said, “The chemistry and energy that comes out when the four of us are working together, is reflected in the new material.” For his part, John Wetton marvelled at how far the band had come. “Each one of us is comfortable as a human being, and the sound reflects the collective maturity of these four people who are not only eager to explore but also relaxed enough to luxuriate in the strength of the material.”

This boxset features the original ASIA line-up, reformed in 2006, and brings together, for the first time, all of ASIA’s essential music into one concise collection.

Fantasia, Live In Tokyo, the 2CD live show from their 2007 World Tour, features many of the tracks from their first two albums Asia (1982) and Alpha (1983) and includes Heat Of The Moment and Don’t Cry together with heritage tracks from each of the band member’s musical history. The band also performed live, for the first time, an acoustic version of Ride Easy, a B-side from the debut single Heat Of The Moment.

The boxset collection is completed by the three reunion studio albums Phoenix, Omega and XXX. These represent some of ASIA’s finest moments and allowed the band to explore fully their rock and progressive roots.
These albums are presented together in a superb collector’s edition boxset designed by Roger Dean, who produced all of the original albums’ artwork. The boxset cover image was previously unused and the Fantasia sleeve design has been updated by Roger. 

ASIA, The Reunion Albums: 2007 – 2012 5CD boxset is out now through BMG Records.

About ASIA
ASIA was a true ‘supergroup’ pooling the talents of John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes and Steve Howe and was the logical successor to their collective bands of the 70s.

Moving beyond their progressive roots, ASIA embraced the commercial FM rock sound that dominated US airwaves and took that, and the new MTV video channel, by storm. The single Heat Of The Moment was a world-wide monster smash and their eponymous 1982 debut album spent an incredible 9 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart as ASIA became the biggest selling album of the year and world tour dates sold out.

A second platinum selling album, Alpha, was released in 1983. The four original members reconvened in 2006 for a world tour, to celebrate the 25thanniversary of that incredible success, and the album Phoenix followed.

While the members were still heavily involved in other projects, they came together again to record Omega in 2010 and XXX in 2012. Both albums were acclaimed by their faithful fans and supported by more world tours.

Steve Howe stepped back from ASIA to concentrate on his work with YES and he was replaced by Sam Coulson for 2014’s Gravitas. Following this tour came the news of John Wetton’s treatment for cancer, a fight he sadly lost in 2017, just before Asia started an arena tour with JOURNEY, a tour which became a tribute to John’s life and legacy. John had requested that Billy Sherwood YES replace him on bass and vocals.

ASIA supported YES’s 2019 US Royal Affair Tour with Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Guns N’ Roses) on guitar and vocal duties. Steve Howe also returned as special guest.
In 2021 ASIA signed a deal with BMG to re-release their reunion albums Phoenix, Omega, Fantasia: Live In Tokyo and XXX, along with Gravitas (with Sam Coulson), to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary in 2022. They also plan to release a box-set ASIA In Asia, of the first simulcast from 1983, with Greg Lake temporarily replacing John Wetton.

Steve Howe Announces Release of Homebrew 7 on 30th July

YES guitarist Steve Howe has announced he is to release the seventh edition of his Homebrew album series on 30th July via HoweSound. Homebrew 7marks the 25th anniversary ofthe guitar legend’s first album in his Homebrew collection.  Pre-order the album here: https://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/products/steve-howe-homebrew-7

The Homebrew series typically features recordings from Steve Howe’s home archive of demos and tracks, originally recorded for one of his many solo or group projects with YES, ASIA, ABWH or GTR. Homebrew 7 differs slightly as none of the tracks have previously been released in any form and there are no plans for any to be rerecorded in the future.

Many are things I’ve enjoyed saving until the right moment,” says Howe, “and the Homebrew series allows this. Some tracks have matured with my nurturing but others have been recently rediscovered.”

This collection includes tracks from the late seventies through to 2016 in Howe’s extensive range of playing styles. Each of the 21 tracks is dated and accompanied by Howe’s background notes and details on instrumentation. Most of the tracks are Howe’s solo recordings with occasional contributions from Dylan Howe and Virgil Howe on drums with Phil Spalding on bass guitar (Half Way). The booklet includes the lyrics for the four vocal tracks and is also illustrated by some of Howe’s delightfully atmospheric photography.

Homebrew 7 Track Listing:

1. The Glider (2015) Time: 1.37

2. October (1998) 1.56

3. Half Way (1997, 2009 & 2015) 3.49

4. The Only One (2013) 1.26

5. In One Life (1982) 2.41

6. Outstanding Deal (1982) 3.21

7. Be Natural (2013) 1.47

8. Cold Winds (1983) 2.38

9. Deanscape (1982) 2.21

10. Tender Hooks (2015) 2.06

11. A Lady She Is (1982) 4.12

12. Two Sided (2013) 1.45

13. Strange Wayfarer (2016) 3.00

14. Devon Girl (1983) 2.42

15. Safe Haven (2015) 1.31

16. A Matter Of Fact 1986)

17. Touchstone (2015)1.58

18. From Another Day (1979) 1.47

19. Foregone Conclusion (2015) 1.58

20. Space Void (1978) 1.05

21. From The Get-Go (2015) 1.49

Total Running Time: 49.41

All titles written, arranged, engineered and produced by Steve Howe with additional drums by Dylan Howe and Virgil Howe.

HOMEBREW 7 Released on 30TH JULY

Pre-order Homebrew 7 here: https://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/products/steve-howe-homebrew-7

Homebrew 7 by Steve Howe: Amazon.co.uk: Music

Frontiers Announces Signing of Arc Of Life

NEW PROG ROCK GROUP FEATURING MEMBERS OF YES & SOUND OF CONTACT – DEBUT SINGLE & VIDEO ‘YOU MAKE IT REAL’ OUT NOW

Frontiers Music Srl is excited to announce the release of ARC OF LIFE’s self-titled debut album on February 12, 2021. Arc Of Life is a new progressive rock supergroup featuring three members of the current YES line-up, vocalist/guitarist Jon Davison, bassist/vocalist Billy Sherwood, and additional drummer Jay Schellen, one of the most interesting talents in the “new” progressive rock scene in the US, Dave Kerzner (Sound of Contact) on keyboards, and Jimmy Haun (also featured on YES albums in the past) on guitar. Fans can get their first taste of the band’s forthcoming debut with the new single and video, ‘You Make It Real’

Pre-order/save “Arc Of Life” HERE: https://orcd.co/arcoflife

The concept behind Arc of Life is, in keeping with the progressive rock philosophy, to craft creative, challenging, and ear-pleasing music that pushes boundaries. 

Billy Sherwood describes the music as, “interesting, with well-crafted songs, performed with precision and grace. All songs feature memorable melodies and lyrics that take the listener on a sonic adventure. Dynamic arrangements with peaks and valleys… it’s all there.”

The other idea behind the band is that YES would be a clear point of influence. But while YES is clearly the main point of comparison, a lot of musical similarities can be drawn to describe Arc Of Life’s grandiose and epic approach to music. 

In Jon Davison’s words, “Each YES member understands and supports when others may desire to explore and thrive along new artistic avenues. We then each find further inspiration to bring back to the YES fold.”

But all the descriptions are best left to the listeners to discern for themselves as repeat listens will reveal more layers. 

Arc Of Life is a true garden of delight for progressive rock fans and the band is looking forward to performing live. “Once the world gets over the COVID hump, Arc Of Life will be planning as much touring as we can fit in between YES and our other projects. Quite honestly, we’re all chomping at the bit to be out performing again!” concludes Jon Davison.

Tracklist:

1. Life Has A Way

2. Talking With Siri

3. You Make It Real

4. Until Further Notice

5. The Magic Of It All

6. Just In Sight

7. I Want To Know You Better

8. Locked Down

9. Therefore We Are

10. The End Game

Line-up:
Billy Sherwood – Bass and vocals

Jon Davison – Vocals

Jay Schellen – Drums

Jimmy Haun – Guitars

Dave Kerzner – Keyboards

Steve Hackett announces the release of a new acoustic album – Under A Mediterranean Sky on 22nd January.

Iconic guitarist Steve Hackett, releases his new acoustic album Under A Mediterranean Sky on 22nd January 2021 as a Limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP-booklet and Digital Album via InsideOut MusicUnder A Mediterranean Sky is Steve Hackett’s first acoustic solo album since Tribute in 2008 and takes inspiration from Steve’s extensive travels around the Mediterranean with his wife Jo.

Working closely with long-time musical partner Roger King, Hackett has used his time during 2020’s lockdown to take us on an extraordinary musical journey around the Mediterranean, painting vivid images of stunning landscapes and celebrating the diverse cultures of the region. Famed for his rock roots with Genesis, and through his extensive solo catalogue, Hackett demonstrates the exquisite beauty of the nylon guitar at times venturing into the exotic ethnic and often supported by dazzling orchestral arrangements.

“A lot of acoustic ideas had been forming over the years, and it felt like the perfect time to create this album,” notes Hackett, “a time to contemplate the places we’ve visited around the Mediterranean with the kind of music which evolved from the world of imagination.

“Because we can’t really travel, substantially at the moment, I hope that the album will take people on that journey. Whether you sit down and listen to it or drift off to it with a glass of wine…”

Track Listing:
Mdina – The Walled City (Steve Hackett / Roger King)

Adriatic Blue (Steve Hackett)

Sirocco (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King)

Joie de Vivre (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett)

The Memory of Myth (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King)

Scarlatti Sonata (Domenico Scarlatti)

Casa del Fauno (Steve Hackett / Roger King)

The Dervish and the Djin (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King)

Lorato (Steve Hackett)

Andalusian Heart (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King)

The Call of the Sea (Steve Hackett)

Our journey around the Med begins on the island of Malta, in Mdina – The Walled City. It’s imposing strength is portrayed by Roger King’s dramatic orchestration while Hackett’s guitar weaves through the atmospheric streets describing the creativity, love and strength that held Malta together between all the waves of conflict.

With Hackett’s delicate guitar work, Adriatic Blue paints an enchanting view of stunning scenery as tall cliffs of forested mountains plunge into the deep blue sea along the Croatian coastline. Sirocco is altogether more atmospheric, inspired by the winds playing through the imposing structures of Egypt.

The lively Joie de Vivre expresses the unique sense of joy the French have through their wine, food and folk music, with paintings reflecting family gatherings, spectacular vistas and the vibrant colours of their cities. The art of dreaming is embodied in their sensual love of life.

“At first hand, I’ve marvelled at the mystical whirling Dervishes,” says Hackett. Along with otherworldly beings such as the Djin (Genie) they sprang from Persia’s dreaming past. The Dervish And The Djin captures the extraordinary atmosphere of this most exotic of civilisations with the help of Hackett’s touring band regular – Rob Townsend’s soprano sax, the tar of Malik Mansurov (from Azerbaijan) and Armenian Arsen Petrosyan’s duduk. “Of course, those countries are virtually at war with each other,” Hackett adds, “and there has been something like a thousand casualties (at the time of writing) on both sides. Again, it’s a case of music being able to do things that politicians fail to do – something constructive.”

The Memory of Myth embodies the deep and rich history of Greece and features the violin of Christine Townsend (no relation) while Lorato – ‘love’ in the language of the African Tswana tribe – is a pretty folk tune. Love is the force that heals and links all disparate peoples of the Mediterranean.

Hackett and his wife Jo were enchanted by the little Faun statue in the House of the Faun, Pompeii. “The villas there seemed to come back to life as we walked through those wonderful atriums and gardens,” inspiring Casa del Fauno and featuring the light and airy flute of Hackett’s brother John and Rob Townsend on flute.

The only non-original piece is Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata. This embodies the Baroque music of Italy, a sensitive interpretation embellished with cross-string trills, a technique introduced to Hackett by the fine classical guitarist, the late Theo Cheng.

Hackett also expresses his admiration for the flamenco guitarists of Andalucía who are celebrated on Andalusian Heart“One of the flamenco guitarists was showing me the extraordinary things they are able to do,” Hackett explains. “Seeing the gypsies playing and dancing in caves there, you get the feeling that these people are dancing for their lives.”

Our journey comes to an end with The Call Of The Sea, a gentle and peaceful reflection of the vast body of water that unites the many civilisations both ancient and modern.

Under A Mediterranean Sky features Steve Hackett playing nylon, steel string and twelve string guitars, charango and Iraqi oud. Keyboards, programming and orchestral arrangements are by Roger King. Featured musicians are John Hackett and Rob Townsend, flute (Casa del Fauno); Malik Mansurov, tar and Arsen Petrosyan, duduk & Rob Townsend, Sax (The Dervish And The Djin); Christine Townsend, violin (The Memory of Myth and The Call Of The Sea). All tracks were produced by Steve Hackett and Roger King with all tracks recorded and mixed by Roger King at Siren.

“I had a great time doing this album, seeing it take shape, and I’m very pleased with the outcome. I’m very proud of it,” says Hackett. “The nylon guitar has a very individual sound but, within the compass of what the nylon-strung guitar can do, there are a lot of different tones. You can do the full-on attack, the kind of salvo that you expect from the flamenco players but, at the same time, it can also be very gentle, gentle as a harp. It’s shades of black and white. It’s also exciting to play alongside instruments from around the world, as well as a wide range of orchestral sounds.”

District 97 Present ‘Ghost Girl’, A Short Animated Film

Just in time for Halloween, Chicago prog rockers District 97 present their first animated short film, the epic tale of “Ghost Girl.” Taken from their most recent release Screens, “Ghost Girl” is the musical journey of a little girl who longs to fit in. The only problem? She’s terrorized by malevolent spirits, and nobody believes her—except for her loving but overbearing mother. 

Jonathan Schang, District 97’s drummer/primary composer and Ghost Girl Executive Producer states: “For well over a year, I’ve had a vision in my head of an animated short film for Leslie’s and my song “Ghost Girl” from the Screens album. I imagined something that conjured a similar mood to Steven Wilson’s and Owl House Studios’ stop motion videos. Through happenstance I was put in touch with director Christopher Kezelos (Zero, The Maker), who enthusiastically took on the project. Since January, we closely collaborated to bring Ghost Girl and her world to life.

“I never could’ve guessed how much all of our lives would change during the making of this film, but I feel that makes its story of isolation, alienation, and redemption all the more relevant. I hope it captivates music and film fans everywhere this Halloween season and beyond.” Christopher Kezelos, Director says: “When I first heard the song Ghost Girl by District 97, I was instantly drawn into the disturbing tale of a young medium terrorized by evil spirits and the epic highs and lows of this sweeping rock ballad.

“Every line of the song conjured haunting and beautiful images in my mind that I wanted to bring to the screen.

“The song, sung from the protagonist’s point of view, felt very personal. I wanted to portray her story through a diary as she journals her life and shares her intimate secrets with the viewer. Sketches that ebb from dark and gritty to light and calm as she pours her heart and soul onto the page.“I wanted every scene to feel like a beautiful cinemagraph. A memory captured in time, with a hint of motion that draws you into Ghost Girl’s world.

“My hope is that her tale of transformation resonates with audiences struggling with their own demons.”

Review – Yes – The Royal Affair Live – by John Wenlock-Smith

I think most people will concede that 2020 has been a somewhat challenging year, especially with the world wide impact and devastation that Covid 19 has bought, along with the subsequent lockdowns that have been enforced on different countries, affecting both world trade and travelling in particular.

Musically, tours and shows have been cancelled or postponed; often indefinitely. However, this has allowed artists time to record new music, albeit socially distanced or even remotely.

Yes were to have been performing their latest run of complete albums featuring ‘Relayer’ but that has inevitably fallen by the wayside and been postponed till 2021. To whet the appetite, they have elected to release a new live album recorded at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, documenting last year’s Royal Affair Tour .

This is a single disc affair but with a new Roger Dean cover and an interesting set list including Yes’ own version of John Lennon’s Imagine (a song Alan White actually performed on prior to joining Yes), the track also includes John Lodge of The Moody Blues on guest vocals. The balance of the tracks are staples of the Yes canon, mainly focused on their prime years i.e. pre 1980’s, although time is made for a rare version of the Simon and Garfunkel classic America, which gets a decent dusting down here.

The album opens with No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, which also includes the main theme from The Big Country (which is an interesting twist). It sounds very impressive and allows Steve Howe to vamp things up a little. The band sound on good form, relishing the experience and playing very competently indeed, in fact seldom have Yes sounded as on form as they do on this recording.

Geoff Downes’ keyboards continue the theme with lots of orchestrated sounds filling the sound scape out before Steve Howe delivers a fiery solo. But this album is more about ensemble playing than solo flights and those excesses are tightly reined in, this album is about Yes as a band it and plays to that strength very well.

Next track is the powerful Tempus Fugit from the ‘Drama’ album. Again, it is delivered with much bite and flair, Billy Sherwood’s bassline sounding especially muscular and fluid throughout, Steve is on on rampaging form too with strong drum support. This performance reveals just what a monstrous track Tempus Fugit really is and how its status has grown as the years have gone by, so much so that now it is an integral part of any Yes show and rightly so too. Next comes a familiar pedal steel lick that heralds Going For The One with Steve’s interjections taking this song soaring to the heights as it plays as another fabulous performance. Strangely the audience do seem a bit restrained here and they do not really roar like a great Yes crowd can, thank goodness that this performance was captured on tape and is now available for us non-Americans to enjoy at our leisure.

All Good People follows in this fine set of crowd pleasers and, again, Yes deliver an excellent version of this great tune. I know the band have become a bit polarising these days, with lots of detractors but, let’s be honest, this version carries the flame just as well as any others do and they seem to still be enjoying performing these pieces, so, on that basis, long may it continue! Any Yes is better than none at all in my view. Back to the track, which is a genuinely great performance and one that allows some delicate guitar lines from Steve to work in concert with some thunderous bass and powerful drums.

Siberian Khatru follows and represents another classy example of the current line up, still having the classic Yes sound The band give an excellent reading of it, with all its excellent parts sounding as strong and good as they ever were. We are then treated to a short version of Onward from ‘Tormato’, an album where Yes faltered and fell apart, however, this was one of its better songs.

The audience are then treated to the first real epic in the form of the rarely performed (these day at least) America, made famous by Simon and Garfunkel. I first heard this song on an Atlantic sampler LP, ‘The New Age Of Atlantic’, where it shone out as a remarkable reworking of a great tune and it still has the power to impact some 48 years after first being released. I have always liked this song and here Jon Davison brings this song to life wonderfully. It is a fabulous retelling of a great song, Jon’s voice is strong and warm and he brings new life to this version. Some great guitar work from Steve and fine contributions from all quarters make this a superior version of a great song.     

Imagine is a new version of the Lennon track performed by Yes with John Lodge on guest vocals. It is a more than adequate version but, really, adds nothing new to a well known and loved song. Then it is into the home stretch with Roundabout and Starship Trooper, both of which are well received. They are excellent versions, despite the fact that they had been covered many many times now. Then again, these are classic songs that everyone know and love and always want to hear played. It’s an excellent way to bring the show to a finish, everyone going home happy and the legend is preserved, credibility is maintained and Yes live to tour another day.

This album is a fine collection, nothing new or essential but certainly a fine and worthy memento of an interesting tour, all for less than the price of a T shirt! Highly recommended and certainly worth a listen in my view.     

Released 30th October 2020

Order the album here:

https://yesband.lnk.to/RoyalAffairPR

Marillion Announce The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Tour for 2021

Marillion have seen The Light At The End Of The Tunnel! With the long, dark days of Covid-19, hopefully, behind us by then, Marillion will shed some light across the stages of Britain with a 10-date tour in November 2021 culminating in 2 nights at the London Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith. Tickets go on sale from Friday 23rd October 2020.

Steve Hogarth says: “We’re currently writing album number 19 and, as you might imagine, looking forward with every sinew to getting back on the road and playing it to you. Not as much as my wife’s looking forward to getting me out of the house though…

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Tour dates for November 2021 are as follows

Sunday 14th Nov Hull City Hall
Monday 15th Nov Edinburgh Usher Hall
Wednesday 17th Nov Cardiff St David’s Hall
Thursday 18th Nov Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Saturday 20th Nov Cambridge Corn Exchange
Sunday 21st Nov Birmingham Symphony Hall
Tuesday 23rd Nov Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Wednesday 24th Nov Bath Forum
Friday 26th Nov London** Eventim Apollo Hammersmith (seated)
Saturday 27th Nov London** Eventim Apollo Hammersmith (standing)

**Please note the Apollo Hammersmith shows will be – one night seated and one night standing.

Tickets go onsale at Friday 23rd October at 10.00am from: www.myticket.co.uk/artists/marillion

MARILLION are: Steve Hogarth – lead vocals, lyrics, keyboards, percussion, Steve Rothery – electric guitars, acoustic guitars, Pete Trewavas – Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals, , Mark Kelly – keyboards, and Ian Mosley – drums, percussion.

We are extremely fortunate, we had set aside this year to make our 19th studio album and so we saved up a bit and we budgeted for a year on the ground, before this plague broke,” said lead vocalist Steve Hogarth.

2020 has been a terrible year for everyone and Marillion are grateful for the continued support of their family of faithful fans, particularly the wonderful donations from the Couch Convention weekend in September which raised £31,530 for their crew who have been hard hit financially by the pandemic.

Of the success of the weekend, Mark Kelly said: “What a weekend it was! We were totally stunned and knocked out by everyone’s involvement in everything that went on, from Steve Rothery’s late night cocktails to Pete’s Bass Masterclass. Ian’s Drum Q&A and my early morning fun run and all the music, chat and fancy dress in between.

“It was fun for us to be in the audience, too, reading and reacting to all your comments as the shows were streamed. The crew tip-jar was overflowing with your generosity, you raised a substantial sum for our wonderful crew. The money will go a long way to helping them survive a difficult year. Thank you!”

 

Steve Howe, YES guitarist, releases his solo album LOVE IS on 31st July.

Legendary Yes guitarist Steve Howe has announced he is to release Love Is on 31st July through BMG Records. Love Is is Howe’s first solo album since the all-instrumental Time in 2011 and has a balance of five instrumental tracks and five songs. 

The album will be available as CD – gatefold digi-sleeve with 12 page booklet and LP – Black vinyl 180gm with gatefold sleeve, liner notes and lyrics. 

Link to Steve Howe Official store pre-orders: https://SteveHowe.lnk.to/D2CPR

Link to Amazon pre-orders:https://SteveHowe.lnk.to/LoveIsPR

Steve Howe sings lead vocals and plays electric, acoustic and steel guitars, keyboards, percussion and bass guitar on the instrumentals while Yes vocalist Jon Davison provides vocal harmonies and plays bass guitar on the vocal tracks. The album also features Dylan Howe on drums.

Many years in the making, Love Is brings together a consistently strong and polished listening experience, forging the very best from the writing and playing throughout the album. This may well be considered the real ‘stand out’ album of Howe’s solo career. The instrumentals keep a highly progressive rock guitar style to the fore, with songs that explore stories of lives lived and lives only just begun. Love Is A River is the central longer song with several textural shifts, featuring a theme played on 12 string and steel guitars.

Portrait of English progressive rock musician Steve Howe, taken on February 3, 2020. (Photo by Will Ireland/Prog Magazine)

I called the album Love Is because it hints at the central idea that that love is important but also love of the universe and the ecology of the world is very important,” says Steve Howe. “Alexander Humboldt went around the world and recognised 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.

Love Is A River just seemed a very important track to me, a sort of quintessential track with lots of moods, lots of interesting things going on with steel guitars and acoustic guitars. Further tracks grew from time spent writing in my studio.

See Me Through looks at the idea that we get through life by not driving ourselves that hard but attempting to achieve things with people who help you along the way and Imagination is dedicated to my granddaughter Zuni. It’s about how I see some of the things she’s experienced in her short seven years.”

I invited Jon Davison to sing harmonies with me and add bass on the songs. 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.I’ve been singing for years, mainly in harmony but I’ve sung lead on lots of my own albums before and I feel that, as I’ve got older, I’ve got a grip on that and, hopefully, it’s improved over the years.

The album includes many distinctive Steve Howe signatures among the instrumental tracks from the delicate beauty of FulcrumBeyond The Call and Pause For Thought to upbeat rock, The Headlands, and the jazz-tinged Sound Picture.

The instrumentals are like a mood, a place I went to one day, thought this is nice and then I develop that to a point where it’s a finished track. There might be key ingredients that I thought about using musically that I like, that I’m drawn to, and then developing them into something.

Love Is was written, engineered and produced by Steve Howe with further engineering and mixing by Curtis Schwartz. “I write in my own studio and then go to see Curtis in his studio,” Howe explains. “We expand the tracks and put them on Pro Tools and everything starts to be possible. At some point, probably around 2 years ago, Dylan came down to Curtis’s studio and we recorded the drums on some of the tracks. I could see a balance of five instrumental tracks and five songs and there was a feeling that it was an album, sitting there, looking at me.”

The track listing for Steve Howe’s Love Is album is:

1 Fulcrum (instrumental)

2 See Me Through

3 Beyond The Call (instrumental)

4 Love Is A River

5 Sound Picture (instrumental)

6 It Ain’t Easy

7 Pause For Thought (instrumental)

8 Imagination

9 The Headlands (instrumental)

10 On The Balcony

Formats:

CD Catalogue No. 538608592 Gatefold digi leeve with 12 page booklet with liner notes by Steve Howe & lyrics

LP – Catalogue Number – 538608601180gm Black vinyl in Gatefold sleeve with liner notes by Steve Howe & lyrics

Release date: 31st July 2020


Link to Steve Howe Official store pre-orders: https://SteveHowe.lnk.to/D2CPLink to Amazon pre-orders: https://SteveHowe.lnk.to/LoveIsPR

KANSAS – launch sneak preview of new album ‘The Absence of Presence’ out 26th June 2020

30th March 2020: Kansas, America’s legendary progressive rock band, will release their highly anticipated new studio album “The Absence of Presence” on June 26, 2020. The band gave fans a sneak preview of what they can expect to hear on the album with this sampler video: 

“We are really excited for our fans to be able to get a taste of what is to come from ‘The Absence of Presence,’” says KANSAS lead vocalist Ronnie Platt“I think people will really be surprised by the album. ‘The Absence of Presence’ shows the band firing on all cylinders.”

“The Absence of Presence” follows-up 2016’s “The Prelude Implicit,” which debuted at #14 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. KANSAS has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, and is famous for classic hits such as ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and ‘Dust in the Wind’ to the progressive epic ‘Song for America.’

“The Absence of Presence,” released by Inside Out Music, features nine all new tracks written by the band, produced by Zak Rizvi, and co-produced by Phil Ehart and Richard Williams. KANSAS’s signature sound is unmistakable throughout. The album showcases Ronnie Platt’s towering vocals, David Ragsdale’s searing violin, Tom Brislin’s dazzling keyboards, Williams and Rizvi’s electrifying guitar riffs, Ehart’s powerful drums, and Billy Greer’srocking bass.

“We are really proud of the album ‘The Absence of Presence,’” comments KANSAS guitarist, producer, and songwriter Zak Rizvi“Making a new KANSAS album sets a very high musical standard that is expected from our fans. From rockers, to progressive epics, to ballads, there is something on this recording for everybody.” 

“The Absence of Presence” will be released June 26, 2020, on Inside Out Music. The album will be available on CD, Double LP 180 Gram Vinyl, Limited Edition Deluxe CD + 5.1 Blu-Ray Artbook, and as a digital album. Pre-order opportunities begin on the 17th April via KansasBand.com & other outlets.

“The Absence of Presence” Track Listing:
1. The Absence of Presence

2. Throwing Mountains

3. Jets Overhead

4. Propulsion 1

5. Memories Down the Line

6. Circus of Illusion

7. Animals on the Roof

8. Never

9. The Song the River Sang