‘Jon Davison has brought in an interesting quality’: Chris Squire on Yes’ forthcoming Heaven and Earth

Though Jon Davison has been touring with Yes since 2012, the group’s upcoming release will be his first studio collaboration — and the singer-songwriter looks to have had a critical role.

Stalwart Chris Squire, who co-founded Yes in 1968, says Davison “has contributed very strongly to that in terms of writing, both musically and lyrically.” If fact, Squire tells Lithium that Davison “has pretty much written all the lyrics for this album.”

The Roy Thomas Baker-produced Heaven and Earth, Yes’ follow up to Fly From Here, is due on July 8, 2014 via Frontiers Records. That earlier 2011 project, with the departed Benoit David as frontman, was centered on a long-form song that grew out of left-over material from 1980′s Drama. Other than a co-writing credit on “Into the Storm,” David apparently had little input into the creative process.

Contrast that with Jon Anderson, the band’s founding vocalist, who played a seminal part in Yes’ most recognizable songs during a tenure that lasted from 1968–80, then from 1982–88, and finally from 1990–2004.

Davison, who has continued tandem work with the American prog rock band Glass Hammer, appears to be stepping into a similar creative role as Anderson’s successor.

“Jon has been with us for a couple of years and he has fit in very, very well,” Squire tells Lithium. “He does a really good job of faithfully reproducing the older songs, which of course are the songs that Jon Anderson sang back in the day.” Squire adds that “everyone gets along with him really well and he is very easy to work with. So everyone in the band is very happy. Jon Davison has brought in an interesting quality of songwriting and lyric writing.”

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