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Steve Howe Says ‘Yes’ to Country, Thanks to Alison Krauss

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Steve Howe, the famed Yes guitarist, plans to go country.

Steve is known for his many high profile rock projects, including Asia and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman Howe, but a chance appearance by Alison Krauss & Union Station on ‘The Tonight Show With Jay Leno‘ reignited his passion for country music.

“It was the most amazing thing that happened about 15 years ago,” Steve tells The Boot. “I had Jay Leno on, and there’s Alison Krauss & Union Station. Something just made me stay on the channel. I enjoyed it so much that I went out the next day and bought the entire collection of what she had done.”

Steve was such a fan that he made it a point to meet Alison & Union Station — including renowned dobro player Jerry Douglas whom Steve greatly admires — backstage, and they discussed collaborating.

“I asked them if they would work with me and they said yes,” Steve says. “It has taken some time, but I have not stopped writing tunes [for the project]. I have a country side that I want to explore. I will do country records.”

What many might not realize is that although Steve is known for progressive rock, he first developed his passion for music because of country.

“Alison asked me why a guy from Yes likes [country] music so much,” Steve recalls. “I really got into guitar because of country music. I loved Tennessee Ernie Ford, he was a fantastic jewel. I was so inspired by his playing, I started playing guitar. Then I heard Chet Atkins — there are a lot of great guitarists but Chet is at the top — and knew I wanted to go into country music sometime.”

Although Steve is now deeply involved with Yes — they are on tour and have a new album coming out soon — he thinks the time for the collaboration may well be around the corner.

“Through meeting them and appreciation for their music, I have been literally struck with excitement,” Steve says noting the DVD ‘A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection by Alison Krauss’ underscores Alison’s impact on music. “When you hear the great Brad Paisley talking about the depth of his enjoyment … that just about sums it up for me. There’s just a very central role that county has, a clarity and purity that isn’t concocted or prepared. Beyond that, Alison has an honesty and beauty in her music that is very rare today.”

Steve Howe will tour with Yes behind their upcoming, as yet unnamed, album. For details, check here.

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