Your Comfort Zone

How far outside your musical comfort zone do you travel?

It’s a good question, particularly when you think on how far you’ve come in your life.  When we were young (and some of you still are, numerically), we were immersed in the music of our time.  We listened to favored radio stations, we hung out at record stores, we experimented with new and emerging musical styles.  We invented ourselves and then reinvented ourselves based on emerging talents and music.

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More importantly, we ended up carrying those loves deep into our years as we aged.  (I know, I know…sucky concept, time!)  But many of us, as we gained more structure to our lives began to rely – heavily at first, and then loosely later – on the music that we took to heart at its most relevant stage for us.

Unfortunately, as we moved along, we listened less to new trends of music.  And then, one day, for some strange reason or another, we actually stopped to reassess an old love of ours – listening to music –  and found that it was unrecognizable.  It no longer spoke our language.  And so, because we didn’t want to abandon – again – our music loves, we dug those old favorites out, listened to them and found that we really do still find it important.

I’ll rope this back to the original question, “how far outside our musical comfort zone do we travel?”.  As we regain our love of music, we start to allow for some new input.  We find that we like a new band or two, so we stretch a bit.  Some aren’t satisfied.  They want that feeling of floating on new songs, moving to the next island of sound as we go, just as we did ‘back in the day’.  Those people search a little further.

Nowadays, music is far more diverse than it ever was.  There isn’t a genre or style of music that hasn’t been explored relentlessly.  Sure, it’s played differently, sometimes without much in the way of instrumental achievement.  But the gift of song-crafting is there.  With so much music to choose from, and so many different, and completely accessible, ways to listen for it/to it, we can be on serious overload (which has its own dangers (and not for this article)).

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Unless we’ve put music completely behind us, we now have an unprecedented ability to fill our lives with so much new music and favorite artists.

I know we’ve traveled a long way through this write-up to come to this question, but now that some of you are at a new point in your lives musically (or have been for a while), just how far outside your comfort zone (comfort zone meaning  Prog fans listening only to new prog music, metal only with metal, etc) are you now willing to go?

Personally, I’ve been lucky to like a lot of different kinds of music, with a few exceptions.  I know when I won’t be pleased, almost from the beginning minute of each song found on a new release.  I’m pleased with the Internet as it has allowed me to sample many artists via YouTube, some sanctioned downloads (which are used quite more frequently these days as a marketing tool), and streaming services.

I’m wild.  I like walking into swamps, and dark places to find solid ground that makes me comfortable.  And so, I’m willing to go far, far outside my own comfort zone.  More often than not, I’m not always happy with what I find.  But I sure do love the travel and the hunt.  I begin to accumulate a list of bands and artists that I really like.  I start to follow them like I did some decades ago with other bands and artists.  And I seem to find more relevance to my life again.

How far are you willing to go?

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TAPSheet: Release Notes – 04/25/2013 (US Report)

The very important news piece today centers around the upcoming reissue of Brothers and Sisters, the 1973 classic Allman Brothers Band album recorded after the death of Duane Allman, and Berry Oakley.  This album contained seven strong tunes including “Ramblin’ Man”, and “Jessica”.  On June 25, Mercury Records will re-release a remastered set in several formats that include a 4CD Super Deluxe Edition Set, a 2CD Deluxe Edition Set, a single CD edition, and vinyl LP.  Also being made available are DD versions of all three CD  Editions.  That brightened up my day; hope it did the same for you.

Allman Brothers Band Brothers and Sisters

Dangerbird Records plan to release Audition Tapes from newcomer, T. Hardy Morris on July 30.  Some fans will know T. Hardy Morris from Dead Confederate as well as Diamond Rugs.   You can hear “OK Corral” from the album at the link.

The new album from Travis, named Where You Stand, will be released in the UK on August 19.

Eklipse, who begins a lengthy tour (with Kamelot) in September, will be releasing their new album on June 25 via The End Records.  Eklipse is a string quartet that appeals to the metal and symphonic rock set of fans.  Their new album is called A Night In Strings and will feature string versions of familiar songs like “Clocks” from Coldplay, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, and “The Man Who Sold The World” by David Bowie.   You can check out the Justin Timberlake tune, “Cry Me A River” at the YouTube video below the album cover art.

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‘A NIGHT IN STRINGS’ TRACKLISTING

01.Wonderful Life (orig. By Hurts)
02.In The End (orig. by Linkin Park)
03.New Moon-Theme (theme from “Eclipse – New Moon”)
04.Home (orig. by Depeche Mode)
05.Cry Me A River 9orig. by Justin Timberlake)
06.Cloudbusting (orig. by Kate Bush)
07.Paparazzi (orig. by Lady Gaga)
08.Run (orig. by Snow Patrol)
09.Mumbai-Theme (theme from “Bombay”)
10.Clocks (orig. by Coldplay)
Bonus Tracks
11.The Man Who Sold The World (orig. by David Bowie)
12.Love Theme (theme from “The Godfather”)
13.Every Breath You Take (orig. by The Police)

Loud & Proud Records will release American Ride from Willie Nile on June 25.

Deutsche Grammophon will release the new Catrin Finch album, Lullabies, on July 16.  Catrin Finch is an extraordinary harpist who comes from Wales.  If you like such classical beauty, then I can recommend any of her works.

Capitol Records have Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia arriving from Dandy Warhols on June 11.

Capitol Records also have the 2CD 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Sports! by Huey Lewis & The News on the calendar for May 14.  But I’ve already told you this one earlier (and got into trouble for it too!  Go figure!!)

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UMe have Live In NYC coming from Jane’s Addiction in several formats that include CD, a CD/DVD combo Special Edition, DD, and a 2LP set.  The title will also be made available on DVD, and BD for the video portion.  Live In NYC arrives on June 25.

And as you already know, Eagle Rock Entertainment will re-release Rockshow featuring Paul McCartney & Wings.  The 1980 video that chronicled the 1976 Wings Over America supertour.  It is scheduled to be released on DVD, and BD, both on July 11.

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As a reminder, Wings Over America, the classic live set from Paul McCartney & Wings, will be reissued via Hear Music on May 28.  This anticipated set is planned for reissue on 2CD Deluxe Edition, a 3LP set, and a 4CD Deluxe Box Set.

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Eagle Rock Entertainment have the Good Vibrations Tour coming to DVD featuring The Beach Boys on June 18.  The label also have Live At Wolf Trap featuring The Doobie Brothers coming to DD on June 4, and Live at Montreux 1991 featuring The Moody Blues on DD for May 21.

Geffen Records will release a 4CD Classic Album Collection for Rob Zombie on May 21.

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UMe Records have Timeless Flight from The Moody Blues arriving on June 11.

Top Shelf Records have CD and LP coming for Whenever, If Ever by The World Is A Beautiful Place, with a scheduled date of June 18 for both formats.

Columbia Records, on June 4, will re-release RSD LP versions of 180p reissued Aerosmith titles that include Aerosmith, Get Your Wings, and Toys In The Attic.

Legacy Recordings will re-release three Miles Davis titles on vinyl LP, all scheduled for June 4.  Those titles will be ‘Round About Midnight, Milestones, and Someday My Prince Will Come.

And finally, just so you classic line-up Black Sabbath fans know, the band will be embarking on a full-scale, 20-date US tour beginning July 25 in Houston, TX.  The schedule is below:

DATE – CITY – VENUE

+Thu- Jul 25 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

+Sat-Jul 27 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center

<Mon-Jul 29 Tampa, FL Live Nation Amphitheatre

+Wed-Jul 31 W. Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheatre

~Fri-Aug 02 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live

*Sun-Aug 04 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center

+Tue-Aug 06 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre

+Thu-Aug 08 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena

+Sat-Aug 10 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center

^Mon-Aug 12 Boston, MA Comcast Center

*Wed-Aug 14 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre

+Fri Aug 16 Tinley Park, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

+Sun-Aug 18 Indianapolis, IN Klipsch Music Center

+Thu-Aug 22 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena

*Sat-Aug 24 Seattle, WA Gorge Amphitheatre

+Mon-Aug 26 San Francisco, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View

+Wed-Aug 28 Irvine, CA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

+Fri-Aug 30 Phoenix, AZ US Airways Center

+Sun-Sep 01 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena

*Tue-Sep 03 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles Sports Arena

*Previously announced date.

^On sale Friday, May 3

+On sale Saturday, May 4

~On sale, Friday May 10

<On sale, Saturday, May 11

>On sale TBD

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Review: Indigo Meadow – The Black Angels

BlackAngelsIndigoMeadowI always have high expectations for a band that I have decided to underscore as a favorite, or as a band to closely watch.   If you’re going to catch and hold my heavily taxed attention, the music has to be very good.  Austin-based The Black Angels is one with the favorite stamp.  I check them out regularly.  I scan for the possibility of a show nearby.  And I always wait for new music from them.  And after a lot of the so-so reviews of this album popping up, I decided that it was necessary to step in with a deserved defense of it.

The last album from The Black Angels, the excellent Phosphene Dreams (2010) was the band’s third studio effort, standing tall as a brilliant work of music.   From the first album, The Black Angels (who derive their name from a song by Velvet Underground, “The Black Angel’s Death Song”) have delivered a brand of retro-flavored  psychedelic rock like the kind heard in the late ’60s.

But to say that The Black Angels are intent on total replication of old school psychedelic music would be an unfair assessment of their art.  With the new release of their latest album, Indigo Meadow (which can still be streamed widely across the internet courtesy of the band), The Black Angels give us a dynamic album of well written tunes.

Indigo Meadow ably champions the art of the revered Psychedelic Rock genre with lead-off single, “Don’t Play With Guns” (a song that deals with the unfortunate trend of shootings), and twelve other songs.  “Evil Things”, “War on Holiday”, the good title track, and “Broken Soldier” highlight this album that strives to be the best that can be heard of Psychedelic rock in this day and age.  Not only does it capture the essence of the past, it carries it forward to reward us fans of the genre.  They also incorporate mind-bending art of the past era in their cover art.  Indigo Meadow is no exception.

As far as I’m concerned, The Black Angels can do this for decades.  I’ll be there to hear all that I can.

Release Date: April 2, 2013
Label: Blue Horizon Records
Website

Availability: CD, DD, LP

–Matt Rowe

TAPSheet: Release Notes – 04/24/2013 (US Report)

In many of my TAPSheets, I mention what are seemingly unknown bands.  It’s easy to pass them by and neglect them.  Sadly, some get ignored.  I’d like to think of these as small and useful tools.  A quick slide over to YouTube can easily turn you on to a band that you would not have known about…ever, if you didn’t read it here (or elsewhere).   Consider this a bit of a musical oasis.  Use it like a record shop (in a sense), and listen to unknown titles and bands.  You might walk away with something great.

God bless Paul Williams of Crawdaddy.  He created this kind of magic for me.  I just want to pay forward (to abuse a worn cliche).

Thanks.

Polyvinyl Records will release both CD and LP for L’ami Du Peuple from Owen, both expected on July 2.

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Roll Call Records plan the release of Today We’re Believers from Royal Canoe, with a release date of June 25.

Friday Music will release several 180g reissued LPs from Todd Rundgren.  One will be a gatefold jacket release of The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect, the other a gatefold edition of Runt, both on June 25.

Friday Music will also release a vinyl Anniversary Edition of Frankie’s House from Jeff Beck, also on June 25.

Relayer Records will release a vinyl 180g edition of The Best of Tommy James and The Shondells, slated for June 25.

Bright Antenna Records will release CD and LP of Pick Up Your Head from Middle Class Rut, scheduled for June 25.

a favored label of mine, Jagjaguwar, will be releasing Fantasy from Lightning Dust, in both LP and CD forms, with the scheduled date of June 25.

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Nettwerk Records jump in with a Deluxe Edition of All The Little Lights from Passenger, planned for June 25.

Three Car Garage will release Anthem from Hanson in both CD and LP, on June 18.

Omnivore Records will reissue two respected Townes Van Zandt albums, High, Low and In Between, and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, on both CD reissues and vinyl LP.  Watch for these on May 21.  The LPs are limited editions so do not wait if you’re excited about these.

Addie Ville Records will issue a blue vinyl LP from Marshall Crenshaw to the larger audience on May 7.  The EP, named Stranger And Stranger, was originally released for Record Store Day and contains a cover of “Close To You” (Carpenters), and a remake of his own, “Mary Anne”.

Warner Brothers Records will release CD and LP of Python, with the LP edition packing in a bonus CD.  Both Surfer Blood issues are slated for June 11.

Jemp Records will release Ventura from Phish in CD form on June 18.

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GB Records will release the first album from Del-Lords since 1990 on May 14.  The new album will be called Elvis Club.

Greenhouse Records will release the new Tea Leaf Green album, In The Wake, on May 14.

Signature Sounds will release Cavalcade from Cold Satellite on May 21.

Rainman Records will release a 2CD, 12 performance track live set from legendary Blue Cheer on May 28.  The album is called Rocks Europe.

TallGirl Records will release Blaze of Glory from veteran artist, Marshall Chapman, on May 28.

Another trusted label, New West, will release Bright Spots from Randall Bramblett with a scheduled date of May 14.

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Review: Alive On Arrival/Jackrabbit Slim – Steve Forbert (35th Anniversary Reissue)

AliveOnArrivalJackrabbitSlim35AnniversaryBack in the late ’70s, an extraordinary individual released a stunning debut album that explored the frustrations of the time in a such a way as to draw deserving comparisons to Springsteen, and Dylan.  While the weight of the lyrics were not as politically charged as Dylan’s nor as dark as Springsteen’s , Steve Forbert’s words expressed the thoughts of a young man (and incorporated the women too) to such a degree. that to say he ranks among that revered duo is surely correct.

Without getting too evangelical in the promoting of Steve Forbert and his recorded output, let it be said that Alive On Arrival came with a superlative set of tracks that included “Steve Forbert’s Midsummer Night’s Toast”, a scathing blast at the misfortunes of life even as the tune tips its hat to the more fortunate.  Also notable are “What Kinda Guy”, “Big City Cat”, “Grand Central Station, march 18, 1977”, and “Tonight I Feel So Far Away From Home”.  But these are my highlights.  Any fan could easily rearrange, subtract and add any of the tracks found on the album.

AlliveOnArrivalAlive on Arrival was followed by Jackrabbit Slim, which provided the breakout hit, “Romeo’s Tune”.  Other highlights of the album include songs like “Complications”, “I’m In Love With You”, and “Say Goodbye to Little Jo”.  But again, a fan could create their own playlist.  It would be easy to do.

On March 26, Blue Corn Music crafted a 35th Anniversary ‘two-fer’, 2CD set that features both Alive On Arrival (1978), and Jackrabbit Slim (1979).   What makes this set standout are the inclusions of bonus tracks, five from Alive On Arrival (as outtakes), and seven from the Jackrabbit Slim album that includes a 1979 live version of “Romeo’s Tune” from a performance at The Palladium in NYC.  None of these songs are to be missed.

Added to the additional tracks is an eight-page booklet with the usual credits and track-listings for each album.  A two-page David Wild essay (or liner notes, if you will) fleshes out the booklet, finished by a small splash of pictures.  Put ’em all together, and you get a bit of nostalgic magic with a something new that creates a whole re-experience of the albums.

Steve Forbert said it best on his “January 23-30, 1978” tune (Jackrabbit Slim), “It’s often said that life is strange. Oh yes, but compared to what?”  Steve Forbert said a lot of great things.  A lot of them run through these two classics.  Fortunately, Steve Forbert didn’t stop at Jackrabbit Slim but dropped many albums after it.

I love this reissue for what it is!

Musical Relevance in the US and UK

Often, I receive several of my usual emails that pertain to charting albums (and singles) in both the US and the UK.  While there are some similarities in choices by both sides of the Atlantic, there are more differences.

Growing up as a younger kid, I was always fascinated by the UK markets, simply because it seemed as if the music there was cutting edge.  It always felt, with some exceptions, that the US would soon be latching on to what was current in the UK.  But that’s my fix.  And I admit to having a bias.

Over the years, as I grew up, I adored the UK music world.  In the US, it was NYC.  I always looked to them to find the music that would fascinate me more than others.  Admittedly, this is something that reflects my own personal musical tastes and unlikely to reflect others in the same way that it does mine.  Personal taste, y’all!

But, I’m also not alone in this practice.  It would seem that more engaged music fans really do pay close attention to the music they love and the regions they originate from.  When Nirvana arrived, Seattle became a bright spot on the musical map.  When R.E.M. broke out, that region blipped.  Blues installed spotlights on Chicago, and the Delta regions.  It would seem that some places actually foster a kind of musical climate that appeals to some people more than others.  Right now, it seems that Austin, TX is a centrality for the Psychedelic Rock resurgence.

But, this article is centered on the relevancy of either the UK or the US as a viable music market of note.  My opinion is this:  As I (still) pay close attention to charting music, the UK seems to point out to me a lot of bands that I adopt as favorites.  And because of this, I hold close the opinion that the UK is more relevant than the US.  The US, I believe is engaged primarily in the Pop markets, with independent bands a follow-up for those that care.

As an aside, a quick visit to the excellent UK website, SuperDeluxeEdition will unveil many Special Edition reissues of great old music, which denotes a respect for those revered titles.  The US-based, The Second Disc, will also spotlight such UK reissues.  The US markets very rarely initiate such gems, choosing instead, to let the UK create the sets, and then release US versions of the UK reissues.

So, the question here (despite the intention of my rambling post) is this:  Where do you feel musical relevance is most located?  The US or the UK?

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Review: The Weight Of The Globe – Lily & Madeleine (EP)

LilyMadeleineThe all too short five-track EP from sister duet pairing, Lily & Madeleine, is on a schedule to be released on June 11 via Asthmatic Kitty, a label founded by Sufjan Stevens.  However, the album released by the Jurkiewicz sisters has already been independently issued originally early in January on the sisters’ Bandcamp page.

The sisters are Lily Jurkiewicz, a sixteen-year old HS student from Indianapolis, IN, and her 18 year old sister, Madeleine.  Somewhere along the line (I don’t know where), they discovered they were in possession of an extreme talent for harmony, deep lyrics, and a unique ability to have their melodies stay with you long after you have heard a song – any song – of theirs.

The album opens with the lead-off single, a short, haunting tune called “In The Middle”, which contain such stirring lines as  “All of the years I have spent here, I have never wandered, I live in the middle…”, written to become almost anything you want it to be, and not necessarily romantic (although it could be that).

The EP closes with a heart-breaking “Things I’ll Later Lose”, a strong musical statement about the  many losses of our past, sad as they are.  The song leaves a lingering bittersweet cinematic sadness inside.

” Ticket stubs
The movie was all of our love in one afternoon
The sun has bent and faded them
And just like us they’re gone too soon
I have to ask what’s the use
In finding these things I’ll later lose.”

These words, and other mature subjects spill from the souls of two young girls. How?  I don’t know.  But they easily leave a searing trail in their beauty.

The EP is short.  While completely satisfactory as a collection of engaging songs, it also leaves you empty because, well, dammit, you want some more.  Fortunately, there are cover tunes from them including Richard and Linda Thompson’s  “Dimming of the Day”, and “Blue Ridge Mountains” by Fleet Foxes.

In the future, they have a prominent position in an upcoming John Mellencamp song (“Truth”) from the Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, an album of  Various Artists tracks collected for the Mellencamp/King/Burnett project (Google it – interesting).

An album is planned for recording in the summer of this year.  It already has my attention.  It should have yours as well.

The aptly named The Weight of the Globe is stunning.

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TAPSheet: Release Notes – 04/16/2013

Atlanta, GA’s Mood Rings will have their debut album released June 25 via Mexican Summer Records.  The album is called VPI Harmony.  The album will be released on CD, and a limited flow of vinyl LP, which will offer a textured cover, and hand-numbered to 1000.  The LP will offer download rights to digital files.

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Bright Antenna Records have Pick Up Your Head from Middle Class Rut on the calendar for a June 25 release.  The album is slated for a CD run as well as a double-gatefold LP.  The LP issue will contain two bonus tracks not found on the CD.  This band has a sound not too unlike Jane’s Addiction.

Hometapes Records plan the release of Dark Clock from All Tiny Creatures on June 25 with CD and LP issues.

The Weight Of The Globe is expected from Lily & Madeleine on June 11.  The album is expected on CD with the offer of three bonus acoustic tracks, while a separate 10″ LP will the bonus tracks on the download rights card inclusion.  THIS is a fine, fine album.

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Rhino Records will reissue Speaking In Tongues, the 1983 classic from Talking Heads, on June 4.

Other LPs slated for June 4th include Friday Music’s reissue of Shootout At The Fantasy Factory by Traffic in a limited 40th Anniversary 180g Edition.  Friday Music will also reissue a 180g 45th Anniversary vinyl LP set of Traffic‘s  Last Exit, with a planned issue date of May28.

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Legacy Recordings have an as yet undetermined title for a live album from Ben Folds Five planned for June 4, LP and CD.

Real Gone Music will release Stacked Deck/Too Stuffed To Jump from Amazing Rhythm Aces on June 4.  The label will also reissue Allspice from the band of the same name, and Complete Original #1 Hits featuring Eddy Arnold, both of those on April 30.

Blue Note Records have Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon coming from KT Tunstall on August 6 (date subject to change).  This album will be released in the UK on June 10 via Virgin Records.

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Blue Note will also release Lickety Split from Robert Randolph & The Family Band on July 16, and Magnetic from Terence Blanchard on May 28.

Astralwerks have Ice On The Dune by Empire Of The Sun planned for issue on June 18.

Capitol Records have slated In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery from Capital Cities for a release date of June 11.

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Interview: A Short Conversation With Jon Anderson of YES

To talk with those who journeyed with you, in their way, as you made your way through this thing called life, well, that’s special.

Being a Yes fan, I followed much of their music as I made my uncertain way through my teens. They were unlike any other band I had heard. And they still are.  So when I discovered that Audio Fidelity would reissue Close to the Edge, the enduring 1972 classic that, as Jon Anderson so eloquently puts it, “…changed the musical landscape a little at that time,” as a high-resolution Super Audio CD (SACD), I became excited.

It’s not every day that a fan can get one of their favorite albums remastered in the highest quality. It has the potential to become a whole new experience.

I sought out an opportunity to talk with one of the architects of Close to the Edge and other Yes classics, Jon Anderson. What follows is a short—and memorable—conversation I had with the writer and voice of all those songs.

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Yes has been an important part of not only my life, but many others as well. Part of that is the distinctive voice that powered many of those great albums and songs. Another part of the allure is the great songs, their lyrics, and their music that you had a deep part in helping create. Let me take this moment to thank you on behalf of myself and a wealth of fans that feel the same. We’re deeply grateful for Jon Anderson.

You were a part of the original configuration of Yes that did not have Steve Howe in it. Somehow, in strange ways, that seems inconceivable. The legacy of Yes owes much to the collaborative talents of both you and Steve, lyrically and musically. How did that partnership begin, and how did it evolve?

When Steve joined the band, we became inseparable. His knowledge of the guitar was amazing to me, and it was very easy to to sing melodies and write lyrics with him at that time. We were free spirits in a way.

As time progressed, so did we. He would come to me with ideas of a song. I would help develop the songs and add my ideas. That’s how we were able to write longer format songs, like “And You and I” and “Close to the Edge.” Again, with his guitar knowledge, I would ask him to try ideas out. He would happily follow my thoughts, and there it was, ‘magical’ moments that seemed to last forever.

The Yes Album and Fragile are excellent albums. But many, myself included, have a profound love for Close to the Edge. Would you tell us what ideas went into the creation of that album?

I think, first and foremost, we had a connection to create a very large work. Steve sang to me, “…close to the edge, down by the corner…”, and I sang, “…down at the end, round by the river…”, and off we went creating the verse and chorus to the song. It was then that I thought of a sort of ‘chanting’ intro, even starting with some sound effects, like the cosmic ocean, diving into a guitar-based solo intro, then into the ‘chanting’, “a seasoned witch,” etc.

After creating the first half of the song, jumping from a verse-to-chant-to-verse-to-chant sort of thing, we needed a middle section. Again, I created a cosmic ocean of sound, and we needed a song. So Steve played me these chords, and I sang, “I get up, I get down”, and “two million people barely satisfy,” etc. Steve then remembered that he had written a song on those very same chords, which he started to sing, “in her white lace,” etc. And lo and behold, the two songs worked together. The rest of the song needed Rick’s solo building to the chant once more, and then the final verse. We all felt that we had changed the musical landscape a little at that time.

The lyrics found on Close To The Edge, Fragile, Relayer, Going For The One, Tales From Topographic Oceans, and others have motivated and thrilled many of the fans of these albums. They’re poetic, well-crafted, and seem to have deeper meaning than perhaps many of us are capable of discerning. Can you give any insights into the inspiration, creation, and meaning of a few from any of them? Favorites, perhaps? Even key lines.

‘A seasoned witch could call you’ etc, (your inner voice, ‘guardian angel’..will help erase all your fears and doubts’

‘Rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace’..( Evolve your physical world to a more spiritual one)..

OK??..just a couple of lines…I’ve even thought about writing a whole paper on the meanings of some of of my way out lyrics, but now I think,.”mmmm, not really”. But it is fun to remember what I was thinking,

‘Dawn of Light’…..’Dawn of Thought’..was all about the development of the human consciousness, and how we came from the ocean, etc, and learned to fly, all in metaphors. It’s always a lot of fun to write this way, then look back and think, “oh!!! that’s what I was trying to say!”

Personally, I love “Wonderous Stories”. What was the inspiration for it?

Seeing a very young Deborah and Damion asleep in the early morning before I went to the studio, I sang the song in my head all the way to the studio in Montreux, Switzerland, where we recorded ‘Going for the One’.  By the time the guys came, I had the song finished.  It revolves around being told how wonderful life truly is by my spirit ‘Teacher’.

There are few Yes albums that I do not revere as much as others. Those include releases without you in them. Despite the absence of Rick Wakeman, I have a deep love for Relayer. I also deeply appreciate the whole of Going for the One. Do you have any Yes albums that you value over others?

FragileClose to the EdgeTales from Topographic OceansRelayerGoing for the One, especially “Awaken” [from that album], 90125TalkMagnification. All of them were very worthwhile creations.

Your first solo album, the brilliant Olias of Sunhillow, showed Yes fans that there were facets of the band that could be enjoyed outside the confines of Yes. Even so, it is difficult to escape the majesty of the Yes sound. Could Olias of Sunhillow have been a Yes album?

Not really. I was very committed to this idea of ‘solo’, creating a work by myself. Like going to a musical university and learning about my potential.

I have followed and enjoyed your work outside of Yes, including your collaborations with Vangelis, as well as your film contributions (“Loved by the Son” with Tangerine Dream). All of your solo albums after Olias of Sunhillow take on various musical styles. Do you have a side that you particularly enjoy exploring musically?

I always feel the need for adventure when I create an album. That’s why they are all so different.

I understand the sequel to Olias of Sunhillow is underway, with you playing all instruments? Can you tell us about this album?

Again, it was just like going to school every day, and being guided by ‘spirit’ to make this enormous musical project come to life. It drove me a bit crazy, but in the end, it was amazing to me that it worked so well.

You seem to have a deeply spiritual life. Can you elaborate on your use to help you to live day to day?

We are all spiritual beings.  Some people take it as part of the devotion of life, I believe that is why we live, to find the Divine in our everyday being through good thoughts, actions, and meditation or prayer.  Like most people, I try to live this way everyday.  Not always easy to do, but it’s a wonderful way of living this life journey.

Your Three Ships Christmas collection is an essential for my holiday enjoyment. Did you record other standards that didn’t make the cut for the LP?

Not really. I wanted to try something different, like the jungle making music, and songs for spirits, it was such a fun album to do. Maybe one day I will sing the carols I sang at school.

Will there be a time that you re-record popular Yes classics, perhaps with Rick Wakeman?

Maybe some acoustic versions for fun. Rick and I already perform those songs on the live albums.

Will there ever be a chance at reconciliation with Yes that could result in a new tour, perhaps even a new Yes album?

I would love that to happen!

Are you aware of the reissue of Close to the Edge in the audiophile format SACD coming from Audio Fidelity?

Yes, very cool!

I assume that by now you have heard the SACD version of Close To The Edge. Being a creator of those notes and words, did the remastered product reproduce what you intended the music to sound like? Having said that, is there a favorite issue of the album that you feel brings out the way you desired it to sound? That could be original LP issue, subsequent remasters, and this recent SACD remaster.

Close to the Edge is still a wonderful experience for me, both to listen to and remember how it came together…Steve sang the phrase ‘close to the edge, round by the corner,’ to me one day, and then I sang , ‘down at the edge, round by the river’. I had just finished reading ‘Siddartha’, by Herman Hess and off we went.  We kept interweaving those lines all through the song, never wanting to repeat lyrics, just part of the never-ending quest to be unique.  Same with the music.

Remixing an album seems to be a new trend. Do you feel that Fragile, Close To The Edge, Going For The One, or any other YES albums would greatly benefit from such a process. I would like to point to the recent remixes by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) of the first two Emerson, Lake & Palmer albums, as well as some Jethro Tull albums (Thick As A Brick, and Aqua Lung) for reference. Those remixes really recreate the albums in stunning new ways. I cannot help but wonder what such processes could do for a YES classic.

Tales from Topographic would be great, and “Gates of Delirium”  They were never mixed as well as they should have been..

It has recently been announced that Audio Fidelity is remastering Going For The One in SACD. I can’t tell you how many of us are excited about that. Which YES album should follow, or, better, which albums do you feel should be considered for SACD remastering? 

All of them!  I’m very happy with Audio Fidelity!  A fantastic company of people.

It will be presented in stereo, however many love a multi-channel effect. If such technology were available to you back when your albums were created, would Yes have widely availed themselves of it?

I’ve always wanted to record in surround sound, still do.

Assuming that you have heard the DVD-Audio multi-channel of Fragile released some years ago by Rhino Records, do you have any thoughts on how it made the album sound?

Not really. I just remember that great feeling I had at Advision Studios when we recorded it.

Have you heard the SACD version of Close to the Edge that was mentioned earlier? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

I don’t have it, sorry.

What is next for Jon Anderson? Musically? Spiritually? Professionally? Have you ever considered writing a book detailing your YES years? I’d be fascinated by such a book.

I’m slowly working on a number of projects.  All of them are taking their own good time to be finished.  The next 10 years will be a wealth of ideas coming through…just waiting for the doors to open..

As for the book, yes, I’m working on that as well.  As for evolving musically, I don’t know any other way, just keep working with people from around the world…spiritual songs, songs of search for truth, symphonic music, dreams, operas,.children’s musicals.  You name it, I’m trying to achieve it.

OPEN is a signal to where I want to be heading.  Even a pop song would be fun…you never know!!!!!

Thank you for your time. I cannot tell you what a pleasure it was to communicate with one of the greats. Thanks again for your immeasurable impact on my recognition of beauty in song and lyric.

My pleasure.

If the thought of hearing Close to the Edge in great clarity appeals to you, Audio Fidelity will release the intended SACD version on January 22.

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The Power Of Re-Imagining Great Works

TangerineDreamStratosfearMike Oldfield has enjoyed tremendous success with the re-imagining of his incredible Tubular Bells suite.  In fact, he has done it more than once again.  And all of them have been extraordinary.

The key element was that he never attempted to replace the original nor create a note for note, sound for sound reproduction.  Instead, what he did was to explore the suite in a different way.

I can say that not only have I enjoyed the original and the subsequent re-imaginings, but I actually own them all.  I listen to each frequently.

Now, what I am about to suggest does not apply to everyone.  Only a select, and well-chosen few.  But I believe that there are complete albums out there that can be revisited to see what kind of evolutionary magic can be applied.  In specific, I’m referring to Tangerine Dream’s Stratosfear album.

Stratosfear was a crowning achievement for Tangerine Dream, who is largely an ambient band.  But lately, I’ve begun to hear it in different ways inside my head.  I’ve even gone so far as to suggest the idea to the band in an email.  Like Tubular Bells, I think it would evolve beautifully.

Stratosfear isn’t the only album that could weather such a concept.  I’m sure there are others.  I’m interested in what you think, especially if you’re a Tangerine Dream fan.

On a different level, I’d love to hear Tomita revisit either Planets and/or Snowflakes Are Dancing.  I’m betting that over the thirty plus years since their creation, Isao Tomita has learned a new trick or two to apply to his classics.  Certainly, I’m not asking to replace the original.  That’s impossible.  But, like the brilliance of Tubular Bells, I’m betting these, and others have some mileage left in them.

Having said all of this, I’d like to suggest to Virgin Records, the band, or whomever is in charge of the material that with 2016 representing Stratosfear’s 40th Anniversary (the album was released in 1976), an effort be made to honor the album with remastering, some hi-def mixes, and, if available, the rehearsal tracks, any outtakes and demos, or even early takes.  It deserves the treatment.

What do you think of my suggestions?  Or, what suggestions do you have of your own?