There’s something very special to look forward to on Mon., Feb. 24: an acoustic evening with legendary singer/songwriter Jon Anderson will come to the Big Barn of the Dosey Doe. On Feb. 21, music producer and artist representative, William James, shared what audiences could expect from the 2014-version of Jon Anderson's concerts. James said, “In addition to music from Jon’s solo and band career, he’ll be sharing a lot of humorous and enlightening stories. You won’t want to miss it.”
That’s good news for everyone who was in high school and college in the 1970s. If you can name all the members of the first version of the band “Yes,” chances are good that you were in school, probably working a part-time job that allowed money for few, if any extras. If you had extra money and couldn't get to the concerts then, chances are good that, of the vinyl records you bought, “Yes” albums with their 10-minute tracks and entire theme works were on your portable stereo player.
“Yessongs” could have been in your car, on cassette tape, or at least blaring from your FM radio, during the heyday of songs that could go beyond three minutes long. “Yes” contributed to the popularity of FM radio because it was the frequency that guaranteed you’d be up, way past midnight, hearing music you were sure you were the first to discover, the first to appreciate, and the first to share with your friends.
Chances are you can name all the members of the very first “Yes” band, a collaborative which merged British musicians from “other bands” and embraced a new kind of rock identity—progressive—and fostered a gentle nest in which creativity flouirshed. After an early slight flux of musicians coming and going, the official first “real” grouping of “Yes” included Chris Squire, Jon Anderson, Peter Banks, Bill Bruford and Tony Kaye. Early on, many more musicians flowed in and out of the lineup in the 1970s, including Alan White, Patrick Moraz and, of course, Rick Wakeman.
But it’s the voice of Jon Anderson that made you able to identify with the band “Yes,” You probably at least a few albums, whether the live album “Yessongs,” “Yes,” “The Yes Album,” “Close to the Edge,” or “Tales from Topographic Oceans” of more than 20 they recorded over the decades. Perhaps you know all the words to “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” and of course, “And You and I,” so you might think you know that Jon’s signature voice made the music a success. But he’s more than a great singer.
Even from the start, Jon Anderson was a journeyman singer/songwriter. He sang lead, played percussion, guitar, and even the harp, performing with “Yes” at three separate points in his early music lifetime: 1968-1980, then 1983-1988, and then 1990-2004. During those times, he was responsible in large part for the band’s success, as he co-wrote “Roundabout” with Steve Howe (from the album ‘Fragile”), co-wrote “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” with Trevor Horn, Trevor Rabin, and Chris Squire (from the album “90125”), “I’ve Seen All Good People,” (The Yes Album) with Chris Squire, and “And You and I” (from “Close to the Edge) with Bill Bruford, Steve Howe and Chris Squire.
He’s equally as identified with his musical partnership with Vangelis and yet another popular collaboration with the group “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe,” a group of “Yes” veterans who achieved acclaim based on solid rock roots with a new approach to music.
But it’s his solo work lately that is the greater reason for seeing Anderson in person. William James said, “Jon also does his own solo songs, plus some from his work with Vangelis,” and “absolutely, he’ll do all the classic “Yes” songs that everyone wants to hear. James said, “He’s got some very funny and revealing stories he tells about his career so far,” that you won’t want to miss.
Last month, Jon’s “Olias of Sunhillow” 1976 debut solo album was rediscovered as a limited edition Hybrid SACD re-release, as Audio Fidelity released the album on Jan. 21, 2014. Considered a “progressive masterpiece” that reached No. 8 on the UK charts and made the Top 50 in the United States, Anderson said the album “tells the story of an alien race and their journey to a new world, an interstellar exodus from Sunhillow on a spaceship designed by the architect, Olias.”
That was a brave move in 1976, for a member of an ultrapopular band to break out with his own work, while still staying strong maintaining the band’s popularity. Back then, to produce a solo album, while your band was hot, chances were good you were estranged from the band where you’d first achieved fame. Not so for many of the multifaceted, multitalented members of “Yes.” It was simply a matter of staying creative and achieving your fullest potential. Jon Anderson likely writes, and has written, every day of his career, just to stay fresh as a musician. The photograph accompanying this story was taken by Jon’s daughter, Deborah Anderson.
With each passing day, national and international musicians are discovering one of Montgomery County’s formerly best-kept secrets in Dosey Doe. It may look like the log cabin (it is) or a great restaurant (it is), but it’s a choice musical venue that is as intimate as your (two-story, large) living room, with acoustics as good as you’ll find in any major recording studio. Every seat in the house is a perfect vantage point, the gourmet meals that are part of your admission price and the take-home-good coffee is only as far away as IH-45 in north Houston. A few tickets remain for Monday’s show with Jon Anderson. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. Click here for tickets.