‘I haven’t put it in the oven yet’: Ex-Yes frontman Jon Anderson still at work on long-awaited Olias sequel

Jon Anderson isn’t fronting Yes anymore — but he isn’t slowing down either. Upcoming projects include a sequel to his solo debut as well as a collaboration with Rickie Lee Jones sideman Jeff Pevar.

Anderson released Olias of Sunhillow in 1976, while in the midst of his lengthy co-founding tenure as singer and songwriter for one of progressive rock’s signature groups. He split with Yes in 2008, and has been on a creative tear ever since.

Last year saw the release of Anderson’s celebrated Survival and Other Stories, his first solo album since 1998. He also returned to long-form compositions with the release of the epic 22-minute triumph “Open.”

In between nearly non-stop solo touring, Anderson has returned to his roots with Yes, too. He also released two albums with Rick Wakeman, and has talked about working with Trevor Rabin again. There has also been new music made with Marco Sabiu, the Italian composer and conductor, as well.

Pevar, who first gained wide notice as a member of CPR with David Crosby, collaborated with Anderson on a track called “River of Dreams,” to be included as part of “The Marble Halls of Oregon,” a documentary for PBS. Anderson co-wrote and also sings on the tune, part of a project recorded by Pevar at the Oregon Caves National Monument.

All along, Anderson tells Noise11, he has been at work on the Olias sequel, to be called The Songs of Zamran: Son of Olias.

The album represents a return to a career-defining moment for Anderson, who wrote and sang everything on the original 1976 offering — as he had done for years with Yes — but also, in a first, played all of the instruments.

“I locked myself away and went crazy out of my brain,” he says. “If you go to do a solo album you should be by yourself. That’s what I was thinking. I had all the instruments I was going to use like sitar and drums and things. It came out the other end four months later and for the first time I put ‘musician’ on my passport knowing that I was a musician.”

As for the lengthy gestation period of The Songs of Zamran: Son of Olias, Anderson says, alas, that the work is ongoing: “It’s not ready yet,” he tells Noise11. “It’s like a cake. I have all the ingredients but I haven’t put it in the oven yet.”

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