Picture yourself as a singer on stage in front of a large crowd of people with all eyes upon you. Now, even if you are well accustomed to performing on stage, and are within your comfort zone in front of an audience and do well, keeping audiences entertained year after year is of course a completely different story. To survive and remain a long-term success, everything is dependent on your abilities as a vocalist and the quality of the lyrical message you wish to deliver.
Jon Anderson, former lead vocalist and lyrical messenger for the group Yes, is while I write this review, standing on a stage entertaining audiences during tour venues in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which is in support of his concept album – Survival & Other Stories. What I find most impressive about Jon Anderson is the fact he has been not only capturing, but keeping a firm grip on audiences with his music for the past 5 decades, and so it goes without saying that Jon Anderson is a wonderfully gifted vocalist with a exciting message people truly want to hear over and over again.
It was during my recent 2011 interview with Jon Anderson where he specified that while on stage, concert goers would hear original Yes songs, along with Jon & Vangelis songs. In addition he articulates the biographical aspects about his life to an audience, what the songs mean and how they were created, along with singing songs from his newest release – Survival & Other Stories. Jon also acknowledged the importance his fans are to him, which are of course the lifeblood for any artist.
Jon Anderson is a music superstar, even to those other than his most loyal fans who regard him as one of the greatest music icons past and present. While true he is best known as the former lead singer and key lyricist of the Progressive Rock band Yes, his prolific solo music career continues to be as positive and significant today as it was years ago, when people like myself were buying his vinyl records!
Jon Anderson’s influence and starring role in music over five decades is legendary, and one can say Jon’s divine voice and lyrical message is clearly unforgettable. Presently, it is estimated over 38 million records were sold during his years as the dynamic lead vocalist with Yes, and his successful solo career to date. Even today people are discovering the earlier works from Yes, in addition to his numerous collaborations with other top artists, and personalized solo projects.
Survival & Other Stories is a concept album Jon created after he nearly perished from a serious illness. The silver lining began after his recovery when this unique project began to take shape. During this time period, Jon published a message on his website inviting artists to submit their music for this new endeavor.
When musicians from all corners of the world turned in their ethnic music over the internet the substance of something beautiful was born. Jon then mixed, composed, and co-produced with wife Jane Anderson the first of three concept albums, Survival & Other Stories which has a collection of 11 songs with wonderful orchestrations unified with Jon’s heartfelt vocal energies clearly articulated both musically and lyrically as optimistic and positive.
The first song New New World which opens with bold drum cadence, snare taps, and dancing strings makes a clear distinction this release is like no other yet his lyrical propensity and alto tenor range vocals reassure the listener this release will be just as impressive as the melodies he released decades ago. Unbroken Sprit is a moving piece with a light percussion backed melody, while Love Of The Life & Big Buddha Song touch upon politics and religion with spirited instrumentals backing verses of inspiration.
The blend of harmonic ethnicities continues in the moderately arranged melodies Understanding Truth, Effortlessly, Love And Understanding & Sharpening The Sword. All songs are identifiable in a sense by vocal recognition, yet each has a varying metrical rhythm and unique melody which gives every song a singular timbre and atmosphere. Gentle introspective moments are prevalent qualities in the more serene songs Incoming, Just One Man & Cloudz.
Jon Anderson without a doubt has a wonderful story to share, and in the auditory sense, his new release has a personalized point of view that comes across as musical magic. And while many artists have abandoned their music careers or quietly faded away by stepping off and never returning to the stage, Jon Anderson has clearly reached the expert level while entertaining his audiences onstage and in the studio. As it turns out, 2011 now appears to be an exciting year for everyone.
On the 10 page CD cover booklet are all song lyrics and a memoir style narrative from Jon. The global musicians listed on specific songs are; Jamie Dunlap, Peter Kiel, Jann Castor, Dan Spollen, Kevin Shima, Stefan Poddell, Steve Layton, Jeremy Cubert, Christophe Lebled, Ryan Fraley, Daniel Reinker, and Paul Quinn.
Visit jonanderson.com for music news and concert info. Survival & Other Stories can be pre-ordered from Gonzo Multimedia and Amazon.com prior to June 6 release date. Read our 2011 interview article on our pages dedicated to Jon Anderson.
Concert photo courtesy jonanderson.com. Big Stock Photo – dws.