When Yes added Jon Davison of Glass Hammer as its new lead singer, that didn’t mean the end of his prog band. In fact, Glass Hammer is at work on a new album between legs of the on-going Yes tour in support of 2011’s Fly From Here — with Davison again on vocals.
Yes has even allowed Glass Hammer albums to be sold at its most recent string of concerts, which resume on July 19, 2012. Every album that Davison autographs is another potential new fan for the grass-roots American prog-rock outfit, which is subsidizing its own new recording.
“He’s signing tons of Glass Hammer CDs at Yes shows,” bassist/keyboardist Steve Babb says on the band’s Facebook page, “and will be spreading the word on the upcoming tour. … It’s an honor and is definitely going to help get the word out.”
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Former Yes lead singer Benoit David says he was informed of his ouster from the band he’d fronted since 2008 through news reports.]
Guitarist Alan Shikoh has also been in studio since May with Babb and Davison, Babb says. Glass Hammer’s most recent lineup also included keyboardist Fred Schendel and drummer Randall Williams.
Davison made it clear, even as the news broke that he’s taking over for Benoit David as Yes’ lead singer, that he would continue to work with Glass Hammer — for whom he has sung on two albums since 2009, If and Cor Cordium. “Though I’m grateful and excited for this amazing opportunity, it will not jeopardize my involvement with Glass Hammer in any way,” Davison said, in a separate Facebook post. “I plan to steadfastly and enthusiastically continue with Steve, Fred, and Alan.”
Glass Hammer started recording in 1992, and released its first album in 1993, setting up the possibility of a 20th anniversary concert series — though that will have to wait until after Davison’s commitment on the current tour with Yes concludes.
As for the agreement to sell Glass Hammer albums during Yes concert stops, Babb says the idea came from Chris Squire and Co.: “We didn’t even have to ask.”
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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Yes. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
YES – FLY FROM HERE (2011): This album is, in many ways, better than it has any right to be. The band even attempts something it hadn’t in decades — a multi-part thematic suite, and to great effect. As always, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White are compact and versatile, expertly facilitating complicated journeys like “Fly From Here Part III: Madman at the Screens,” which switches back and forth from a crunchy stomp to soaring ambiance. And the new singer acquits himself well.
ONE TRACK MIND: YES CO-FOUNDER CHRIS SQUIRE ON “FLY FROM HERE,” “LIFE WITHIN A DAY,” “TEMPUS FUGIT,” OTHERS: Find out what sparked Yes to return to the long-form compositional style of its glory years on 2011’s Fly From Here, and how a failed early 1980s project with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page ultimately led to the inclusion a Squire-sung track on 2001’s Magnification. Squire also talks about the difficulties of returning to music in concert from the underrated Drama album, and how he came to work with Genesis alum Steve Hackett as part of the newly christened Squackett project.
YES – IN THE PRESENT: LIVE FROM LYON (2011): There was at least one benefit to the departure of Jon Anderson from Yes in 2008: The presence of new lead singer Benoit David immediately opened the door for a rewrite of what had become a very rote setlist. David handles things as well as can be expected on the big Anderson-sung hits here — and that’s really all Chris Squire and Co. were looking for, I suppose. You get a broader sense of what he brings to Yes as it stood then, however, on a churning, metallic fever dream like “Machine Messiah.”
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: YES: We dig back into deep cuts and favorites from Fragile, Relayer, Drama, and 90125 — including “South Side of the Sky,” highlighted by “Chris Squire’s gurgling bassline. Listen closely: Bill Bruford is also mesmerizing behind the drums. It seems simple but it gathers steam as the song wears on, packing in more twists and turns than seems necessary and yet seems perfectly sensible. Rick Wakeman compliments all of this with organ and, in the breakdown, a beautifully elegant piano line. On top of it all, Jon Anderson’s airy vocals narrate a polar expedition gone tragically wrong.”
Here are the dates and venues for the next leg of Yes’ tour …
07/10: Rama, ON, Casino Rama Entertainment Centre
07/13: Atlantic City, NJ, Tropicana Casino Resort
07/14: Westbury, NY, Theatre at Westbury
07/15: Englewood, NJ, Bergen Performing Arts Center
07/17: Lewiston, NY, Artpark Performing Arts Center
07/18: Bethlehem, PA, Sands Bethlehem Event Center
07/20: Upper Darby, PA, Tower Theatre
07/21: Boston, MA, Bank of America Pavilion
07/22: Morristown, NJ, Mayo Performing Arts Center
07/24: Munhall, PA, Carnegie Library Music Hall
07/25: Raleigh, NC, Raleigh Amphitheater
07/27: Boca Raton, FL, Mizner Park Amphitheatre
07/28: St. Augustine, FL, St. Augustine Amphitheatre
07/29: Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall
07/31: Alpharetta, GA, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
08/02: Myrtle Beach, SC, House of Blues
08/03: Portsmouth, VA, nTELOS Wireless Pavilion
08/04: Washington, DC, Warner Theatre
08/06: Clarkson, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre
08/07: Rosemont, IL, Akoo Theatre at the Rosemont
08/09: Denver, CO, Paramount Theatre
08/10: Salt Lake City, UT, The Complex
08/12: Snoqualmie Casino (Mountain View Plaza), Snoqualmie, WA
08/14: San Jose, CA, San Jose Civic
08/15: Universal City, CA, Gibson Amphitheatre
08/17: Scottsdale, AZ, Talking Stick Resort Ballroom
08/18: San Diego, CA, Humphreys Concerts
08/19: Las Vegas, Pearl Concert Theatre
08/21: Mexico City, MX, Pepsi Center
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