Review by JOHN BEAR

    Nearly a decade in the making, this is no throw-away solo project, but an undertaking in exploring a love for our planet and its ecology. Vocalist, Jon Davison of YES supplies bass and backing vocals, with Dylan Howe on drums, whilst STEVE HOWE supplies vocals, keyboards, acoustic, electric and steel guitars. The album has five instrumental and five vocal tracks that are never overblown, with classic arrangements that keep you engaged throughout. Opener ‘Fulcrum‘, a gentle shuffle of a tune, welcomes you in with beautiful acoustic guitars complemented by lilting electronic lead guitar work. Second track ‘Beyond The Call‘, the first vocal track, picks up the pace with driving bass and drums and huge dual vocals complemented by catchy guitar work that could only be STEVE HOWE. ‘Love Is A River‘ is the real stand-out track with some immersive 12-string and steel guitar playing, accompanying dual-layered vocals reminiscent of Pink Floyd. This varied and tasteful album is packed with quality tunes and will not disappoint anyone who enjoys complex ‘Melodic Rock’ – not just for prog fans.

    “I called the album ‘LOVE IS’ because it hints at the central idea that love is important but also love of the universe and the ecology of the world is very important,” says STEVE HOWE. “Alexander Humboldt went around the world and recognised 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.”

    “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.”

    “I invited Jon Davison to sing harmonies with me and add bass on the songs. If he was singing on the songs, I thought, ‘why doesn’t he play bass’ as well and it turned out nice. 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.
    The album includes many distinctive STEVE HOWE signatures among the instrumental tracks from the delicate beauty of ‘Fulcrum,’Beyond The Call’ and ‘Pause For Thought’ to upbeat rock, ‘The Headlands,’ and the jazz-tinged ‘Sound Picture.’
    “The instrumentals are like a mood, a place I went to one day, thought this is nice and then I develop that 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.” LOVE IS was written, engineered and produced by STEVE HOWE with further engineering and mixing by Curtis Schwartz. “I write in my own studio and then go to see Curtis in his studio,” Howe explains. “We expand the tracks and put them on Pro Tools and everything starts to be possible. At some point, probably around 2 years ago, Dylan 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.”


    Via BMG Records – The album will be available as a CD in a Gatefold Digi-sleeve with a 12 page booklet, and  Black Vinyl 180gm LP with a Gatefold sleeve, Liner notes and Lyrics.

    Link to Steve Howe Official store pre-orders:
    The track listing for Steve Howe‘s ‘LOVE IS’ album is:
    1 Fulcrum *
    2 See Me Through
    3 Beyond The Call *
    4 Love Is A River
    5 Sound Picture *
    6 It Ain’t Easy
    7 Pause For Thought *
    8 Imagination
    9 The Headlands *
    10 On The Balcony
    * instrumental

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