‘Beautiful and so thrilling’: Jon Davison has found a creative spark with Yes’ Steve Howe

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Closer inspection of Yes’ new studio effort Heaven and Earth points to a growing collaborative relationship between stalwart Steve Howe and Jon Davison.

The newcomer shares co-writing credits with each of the other members of Yes, but Howe is the only one who worked with Davison on two included songs. Turns out, they came away with a number of additional song ideas for future use, too.

It all began with a songwriting trip by Davison to the UK. “It was really exciting — I’ve always been such a big fan — and especially to go to the countryside in England and spend time with him,” Davison tells Oregon Music News, who called the journey “beautiful and so thrilling. It was like really stepping into a storybook, in essence — stepping into the story of Yes.”

The duo ended up, Davison adds, with five or six ideas, “so we have a lot of extra material for next time.” Something clicked, he says, with “me sharing demos and him sharing demos, and then constructively critiquing one another’s ideas in a harmonious effort to bring about something.”

Each also had individual songs on Heaven and Earth, and Howe has given Davison’s solo contribution high praise. “I think ‘Light of the Ages’ is the kind of song that Yes needs to play,” Howe tells WLUP. “I play just steel guitar on that one, and Jon plays rhythm guitar. I like his rhythm work. It’s really good to have a great rhythm guitarist in the group.” Howe adds that Davison also wrote “massive bass lines for this album, which you wouldn’t expect.”

Meanwhile, Davison reveals that “Light of the Ages,” which already clocks in at nearly eight minutes on Heaven and Earth, is actually an edit — for now, at least. “It had further movements to it, and it was trimmed down,” he says. “I like the version that it is now, but eventually I’d like to put out a complete version. The original is about 12 minutes in duration.”

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