Billy Sherwood is a bassist and vocalist who worked with bands and artists such as Motorhead, Deep Purple, Air Supply, Paul Rodgers, Def Leppard, and Yes. He is also following in the footsteps of the late great Chris Squire and it’s a huge amount of shoes to fill in the mastermind of the heart and soul of Yes. And he knows to make sure to stay true and honor Chris’ legacy and keep the flaming fire of Yes, going on for years and years to come and making sure it doesn’t burn out.
Now I’m very new to Sherwood’s music. It has a symphonic, pop, and progressive flavor to it when I listened to his eighth album released last year on the Frontiers Records label entitled Citizen. And this is a very emotional and breathtaking album to feature alongside Chris Squire, but also; Geoff Downes, Jon Davison, Steve Hackett, Alan Parsons, Rick Wakeman, and Tony Kaye to name a few and giving Sherwood a helping hand.
It’s also a concept album in which it deals various histories, time travel, and infinite universes. The opening title track begins with a dystopian fanfare symphonic introduction that gives a reminiscent of Within Temptation’s Mother Earth-era. Yes members that include Organist Tony Kaye and Bassist Chris Squire, play on this composition as Sherwood himself plays not just Bass, but Guitar and Drums. And he plays them very, very well which is not bad at all.
Kaye’s Organ is momentum as the song deals with the historical times through the different centuries the travelers go through those moments in time. The Great Depression deals with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the piece goes into a moving ballad of the downfall. Rick Wakeman’s piano sets the emotional tone on what was happening during the crash while Empire has this mid ‘80s atmosphere that delves into the sounds of Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
Alan Parsons takes over the lead vocal arrangements as the song touches on someone taking over the city. At first it seems that everyone can live their dreams, but it comes with a heavy price. It crashes down like a ton of bricks as the story has the similarities between Ayn Rand and George Orwell mixing in together of them writing a story together that would make the novelists very proud of.
Jerry Goodman from the Mahavishnu Orchestra, his electric violin ascends into heaven from the improvisations in the midsection and the sounds through Sherwood’s backing vocals and futuristic keyboard sections gives he and Jerry, creative shining freedom between each other. And they work along with Parsons himself, wonderfully together. It’s not just Billy, but lending a helping hand with one another.
All in all, this is perhaps one of the most mind-blowing and powerful albums Billy has released. I have returned more than a few times of listening to Citizen so far and it shows that he really shines a light throughout the album as a professor of time travel with amazing conceptual brainstorming ideas.