‘He’s doing a great job’: For mixer Billy Sherwood, Yes’ Jon Davison has been a revelation

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Originally brought in as a second engineer to focus on the vocals, Billy Sherwood is now in the process of mixing Yes’ upcoming 2014 studio effort Heaven and Earth. As of yesterday, he had gotten five songs into the nine-track project.

That’s given him a broader perspective on the group’s followup to 2011’s Fly From Here. At first, Sherwood — a former Yes collaborator throughout the 1990s — was simply focused on the singers.

“I was dancing around the entire record,” Sherwood tells Gonzo MultiMedia, “just spotting out background vocals with them. So, to be honest, I didn’t really get a chance to really absorb the entire length of things. We were just hopping around at a fever pitch [laughs], just to get stuff done.”

Yes began working on the songs that would become Heaven and Earth with producer Roy Thomas Baker, but ended up in a time crunch because of looming tour responsibilities. With the album due for release by Frontiers Records in July 2014, Sherwood came on board.

Along the way, Sherwood says he has gained a new appreciation for frontman Jon Davison, who is participating in his first Yes studio project. Even as he continues tandem collaborations with his old band Glass Hammer, Davison has taken on a more creative role since replacing Benoit David, who did not claim a writing credit on Fly From Here.

That’s more in keeping with the role once held by founder Jon Anderson, who had a hand in many of Yes’ most recognizable moments.

“Jon Davison does a great job,” Sherwood adds. “Those are tough shoes to fill, and he’s doing a great job. When I heard all of the lyrics that he was in control of, they all sounded really good.”

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