|Legendary YES guitarist Steve Howe will release his new solo album Love Is on July 31, 2020.
It’s his first solo album since the all-instrumental Time in 2011,
and has a balance of five instrumental tracks and five songs. He sings the lead vocals, and plays all the electric, acoustic and steel guitars, as well as many keyboards, percussion and bass guitar on the instrumentals. Yes vocalist Jon Davison sings harmonies and plays bass on the vocal tracks, with his son,
Dylan Howe, on the drums. Though better known for jazz, Dylan’s also drums for the occasional rocker, including Ian Dury, and also Steve Howe, his father.
Many years in the making, Love Is brings together a consistently strong and polished listening experience, forging the very best from the writing and playing throughout the album. The instrumentals keep a highly progressive rock guitar style to the fore, with songs that explore stories of lives lived and lives only just begun.
“Love Is A River” is the central longer song with several textural shifts, featuring a theme played on 12-string and steel guitars.
Here’s Mr. Howe on the albums and its songs.
STEVE HOWE: I called the album Love Is, because it hints at the central idea that that love is important, but also love of the universe and the ecology of the world is very important.
Alexander Humboldt went around the world and recognized we are destroying the planet, but that was 200 years ago! We are still destroying the planet and, I suppose, my songs show the yearning I have for the love of nature and how beauty, art and music all stem from nature. There is a theme about those things, love, beauty, ecology, nature and wonderful people.”
“See Me Through” looks at the idea that we get through life by not driving ourselves that hard but attempting to achieve things with people who help you along the way, and “Imagination” is dedicated to my granddaughter Zuni. It’s about how I see some of the things she’s experienced in her short seven years.
I invited Jon Davison to sing harmonies with me and add bass on the songs. He’s been with Yes for seven or eight years and he’s a great guy, great performer and a great interpreter of Yes songs.
I’ve been singing for years, mainly in harmony, but I’ve sung lead on lots of my own albums before, and I feel that, as I’ve got older, I’ve got a grip on that and, hopefully, it’s improved over the years.
The instrumentals are like a mood, a place I went to one day, and then I develop to a point where it’s a finished track. There might be key ingredients that I thought about using musically that I like, that I’m drawn to, and then developing them into something.
I write in my own studio and then go to see Curtis [Schwartz, engineer-mixer] in his studio. We expand the tracks and put them on Pro-Tools and everything starts to be possible.
At some point, probably around two years ago, Dylan (Howe, his son) came down to Curtis’s studio and we recorded the drums on some of the tracks. I could see a balance of five instrumental tracks and five songs and there was a feeling that it was an album, sitting there, looking at me.