ANDERSON/WAKEMAN: THE LIVING TREE
The Living Tree features nine new tracks penned by vocalist Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, two British music legends who are former members of Yes.
This is an album that requires a little patience. The songs are delivered with very sparse accompaniement, and if you’re looking for that classic Yes sound, you simply won’t hear it. However, if you give this one a little more time, with repeated listens you will see how it unfolds and deepens and finally draws you in.
These two old friends have created a thing of beauty, and the quiet and sparseness are very powerful, with breathtaking melodies and sensitive, restrained keyboards.
Anderson's voice carries the road dust of many roads traveled over a lifetime. While certain melodies or phrases began to stand out early on, as I listened I could almost hear how a full band arrangement would come across.
Many fan reviews are negative about this collaboration, but having listened for myself, I disagree with the haters. With no instruments besides Wakeman's keyboards, the intimate, quiet sound of this recording is like no other in the Anderson canon, and Jon’s solo career has been all over the map. Given Jon's age, recent respiratory ailments, and the fact that he has not really been heard on record for a decade or so, I was almost surprised to see that he had retained his vocal dynamics, his voice on this recording, very intimate.
These are pleasant and listenable songs, clear and melodic. Not bad for a "retirement" project. You will want to listen to this again and again.