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BILLY SHERWOOD

Crossover Prog • United States


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Billy Sherwood biography
Willian Wyman SHERWOOD was born in 1965 is La Vegas Nevada. Given his musical family (his father was the leader of a big band, his mother a drummer), it is no surprise that his life also revolves around music.

As a teenager, he joined the band LODGIC, which was formed by his brother and friends. The band moved to Los Angeles, and by 1986, they had released their first album, Nomadic Sands. SHERWOOD then moved on, and formed the band WORLD TRADE, whose debut album in 1990 had a strong resemblance to the recent work of YES.

In the 1990s, SHERWOOD worked quite a bit as a producer/engineer. In 1992, he wrote The More We Live - Let Go with Chris SQUIRE, and produced and played on the track for the Union album. He and SQUIRE formed the group CONSPIRACY in 2000, and released 2 studio albums. SHERWOOD's relationship with YES continues to this day, having toured as a member of the band on tours and albums. In 2015, with the sad news of Chris SQUIRE's death, SHERWOOD became the full time bassist for YES.

SHERWOOD's solo career began in 1999, with the album Big Peace, and has continued with more than a half a dozen albums since.

See also:
- World Trade
- Conspiracy
- Circa

Billy Sherwood official website

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CitizenCitizen
FRONTIERS MUSIC SRL 2017
Audio CD$10.40
$11.06 (used)
Divided By OneDivided By One
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$11.09
$18.96 (used)
At the Speed of LifeAt the Speed of Life
Import
Cherry Red 2017
Audio CD$9.23
$9.23 (used)
CollectionCollection
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$9.95
$9.31 (used)
Big PeaceBig Peace
Import
Cherry Red 2016
Audio CD$8.00
$11.93 (used)
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BILLY SHERWOOD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BILLY SHERWOOD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.59 | 8 ratings
The Big Peace
1999
3.88 | 7 ratings
No Comment
2003
3.00 | 5 ratings
At The Speed Of Life
2008
3.04 | 5 ratings
Oneirology
2010
3.89 | 8 ratings
What Was the Question?
2011
3.92 | 6 ratings
The Art of Survival
2012
3.00 | 7 ratings
Divided By One
2014
3.52 | 26 ratings
Citizen
2015
3.07 | 9 ratings
Archived
2016

BILLY SHERWOOD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Live In Japan (with Tony Kaye)
2016

BILLY SHERWOOD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BILLY SHERWOOD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.17 | 5 ratings
Collection
2015

BILLY SHERWOOD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.95 | 2 ratings
Universal Garden
2015

BILLY SHERWOOD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Archived by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.07 | 9 ratings

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Archived
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Never enough

When I first saw this album announced, I got the mistaken idea that this was going to be a compilation album of some kind because the title seemed to indicate that it would feature archival material rather than new recordings. Thankfully, this impression was wrong and Archived is another proper, original studio album from the ever productive Billy Sherwood.

After his previous album, Citizen - which was filled with guest stars from Yes and other bands - Sherwood returns here to his long-established format of choice: a true solo album in the fullest sense of the term. Billy does everything himself: writing, composing, singing, playing all the instruments, mixing, recording, and producing, etc. Personally, I prefer this one-man approach over the all-star cast of Citizen and Archived does not disappoint. This album also surpasses 2014's somewhat uneven Divided By One, even if it is not up to par with Sherwood's best solo albums.

With Billy also having written and recorded material for a new Circa album (which will be released in July this year) and also a new album by World Trade, one may perhaps suspect that Archived contains the "leftovers" from those writing sessions. If true, these are some very tasty leftovers that only raises my already high exceptions for those forthcoming band albums even more. My expectations for the Circa album in particular are very high indeed. In contrast to the latter album - which is called Valley of the Windmill and is going to contain four lengthy songs - Archived contains shorter songs than we are used to from Billy's works. None of the 11 tracks exceed six minutes in length and the shortest (the title track) is just under three minutes.

In terms of style, anyone familiar with Billy's previous solo albums will know what to expect here. But while a casual listener may perhaps think that there is too much Billy Sherwood music in existence, for a fan like me it is never enough! This man is just so talented and inspired and he keeps pouring out high quality music at an impressive pace. Archived is no exception to this, and long may it continue! Now that he is back with Yes again, I hope that Sherwood's solo output will finally get more of the recognition it so very well deserves.

Archived is definitely a recommended addition to every comprehensive Billy Sherwood collection, but for beginners there are several other albums that are better place to start your investigation into his strong solo discography.

 Live In Japan (with Tony Kaye) by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Live, 2016
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Live In Japan (with Tony Kaye)
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Circa 50 %

This show was recorded in Japan in 2011 and features material from Billy Sherwood's and Tony Kaye's careers in and out of Yes and beyond. In addition to Sherwood on guitars and vocals and Kaye on keyboards there are no other musicians credited, but luckily there is also drums played by an unknown player. Nonetheless, these performances are still somewhat stripped down (though not as much as I feared) and laid back compared to what we would expect from Yes and from Billy's and Tony's band Circa.

Eight Yes songs are performed spanning the two men's respective times in the band from 1970's Time And A Word to 1999's The Ladder (I Could is an alternate version of the first half of Finally from The Ladder). It is especially nice to see songs from Talk, Union, and Open Your Eyes being performed live as these albums are rarely represented in Yes' own set lists and not many songs from these albums have appeared on Yes' official live releases. Roundabout from Fragile and Wondrous Stories from Going For The One are somewhat surprising choices given that neither Kaye nor Sherwood originally played on those two Yes albums. (Kaye did however perform Roundabout live with the band in the 80's and 90's and Billy recorded a cover version of Wondrous Stories with his band World Trade for the Yes tribute album Tales From Yesterday in 1995.)

In addition to Yes material, we also get a couple of songs each from Billy's collaborations with Chris Squire in Conspiracy and with Kaye in Circa. There is one song from World Trade's 1995 album Euphoria (co-written by Squire who also guested on that album) and also a couple of songs from Billy's 2003 solo album No Comment (but oddly nothing from any of his other solo albums; he had already five solo albums out by 2011). The Other Side is a song that Billy co-wrote for Toto and which originally appeared on that band's 1992 album Kingdom Of Desire. Kaye gets a solo spot which is a piano solo (including a snippet of Yes' Changes).

Overall, Live In Japan is a nice listen, but it is not an album that I think I will return to much. Circa's live releases better show what these two highly talented Yes-men can do together on stage.

 Citizen by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.52 | 26 ratings

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Citizen
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars The Prog Collective III

Considered within the context of his solo discography, Citizen clearly marks a departure for Billy Sherwood. While his first seven solo albums were solo albums in the fullest sense of the term meaning that everything (with only very few, very minor exceptions) was done by Billy himself, on Citizen he has invited a large number of musical friends to help out on both instruments and vocals. In this respect, Citizen is as much a continuation of the two Prog Collective albums as it is an entry in Billy's solo discography. Indeed, most of the people appearing as guests here were also part of the Prog Collective, including Alan Parsons, Colin Moulding, John Wesley, Steve Morse, Jerry Goodman, Jordan Rudess, and an impressive bunch of Billy's fellow Yes members (past and present). Still, even with all of these guests involved, Billy nonetheless does all of the drums, and most of the bass, guitars, and vocals himself.

Citizen is a historical concept album about a "person" reincarnated as a citizen in various places and periods of time, including the scientific and industrial revolutions, the first world war, the great depression, the fall of the Roman empire, and more. The concept is suitably subtle and does not overpower the music. On Spotify there are two versions of the album currently available, one of which includes spoken introductions by Billy for each track. Like all of Sherwood's projects, the quality of the songs, the performances, and the production is very high.

The recently departed Chris Squire - for whom Sherwood recently took over bass guitar duties in Yes, and with whom Billy has worked together in Conspiracy - contributes bass to the title track. This session was to be Squire's last ever recording. The amazing Steve Hackett hands in a guitar solo on Man And The Machine, while another fantastic guitar playing Steve - Steve Morse - does the same on No Man's Land. All of the keyboard players of Yes from the band's beginning in the late 60's to the mid 90's are here, with Tony Kaye, Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz, and Geoff Downes each contributing to different tracks! With the new Yes vocalist Jon Davison appearing on the closing track, this brings the total number of Yes members up to seven including Sherwood himself. (Someone who is notable by his absence is original Yes guitarist Peter Banks who passed away in 2013 after having worked with Sherwood on both of the Prog Collective albums).

While having all of these well-known people on board for the ride will probably widen the interest for this album, and as such will help from an advertising point of view, I personally don't think that Sherwood needs their help from a musical perspective. But regardless of whether you agree with me or not, you cannot take this album to be representative of his solo discography. Hopefully, though, this album will lead to a raised interest in his previous albums which, to me at least, are better and more interesting than Citizen. Excellent albums like The Big Peace, No Comment, What Was The Question?, The Art Of Survival, and others, deserve much greater recognition from Prog fans in general and from Yes fans in particular. Citizen is nonetheless definitely a nice addition to any collection that already holds Billy's other solo albums as well as the two Prog Collective albums to which it is most similar.

 Citizen by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.52 | 26 ratings

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Citizen
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US artist and composer Billy SHERWOOD is a rather well known name in the music business. His various tenures as a member of legendary progressive rock band Yes arguably his main claim to fame, but he has also been involved in numerous other bands and projects over the years. His solo career has been ongoing since the tail end of the 1990's, with eight studio albums released to date. "Citizen" is the most recent of these, and was released in the fall season of 2015 through Italian label Frontiers Music.

As Billy's career have been rather firmly tied in with the history of Yes for a few decades, an obvious question that will rise when he release a solo album is how close, or not, the music will be to the material made by that band, and especially when quite a few guest musicians that also have been members of that band have contributed. The answer to that question is, I guess, a yes and a no. There are similarities, most certainly, but no, this is not a Yes album released as someone's solo project.

The album as a whole is a conceptual one from what I understand, so those who find such ventures fascinating will have a concept to immerse themselves in, and the music at hand is a rather compelling one throughout, where the focus is on smooth, elegant themes and arrangements employed in compositions that tends to be fairly slowly paced. Those fond of dramatic effects, challenging escapades and instruments clearly highlighted as dominant features while going through technically challenging, virtuous territories will have to look elsewhere. While we are treated to a fair share of instrument solo runs and some of them rather virtuoso indeed, these are flavors provided without using the limelight to hone in on them as the central or dominant aspects of the compositions, instead they come across as one part of a total package, one element among many rather than the key element everything else builds up to.

Acoustic guitars and fairly careful, toned down guitar riffs and solo runs combine with layered keyboards throughout to form careful, elegant soundscapes, ranging from the relative sparse and fragile to the rich and majestic, with the bass guitar possibly having a slightly more central place in the arrangements by way of firm and at times booming basslines, but rarely if ever in a dramatic or dominant manner. Elegant and sophisticated comes across as key words for me to describe the totality, with subtle nuances and details used to add tension. I get the impression that a lot of work have gone into the mix and production here, and that this album is the kind that will reward the listeners by carefully unveiling additional detail upon repeated listens. There's a lot going on throughout, but the smooth, melody-oriented focus doesn't hone in on these details as such, and it usually will take multiple listens for most listeners to become aware of these.

The lead vocals and vocal harmonies, both by Billy and the occasional guest vocalists, all give me strong associations to the music of Yes, and then primarily the landscapes they have explored from the tail end of the 1980's and onward. I'm not an expert on that band by any means, so those who have a deeper knowledge of and experience with that band that I have may not concur to this description, but for me it's the vocals that adds that touch of Yes to the landscapes explored here first and foremost. Some nifty, atmospheric guitar solo details hovering in the background on occasion and the aforementioned bass guitar emphasize this somewhat, but at least for me the greater totality isn't all that similar: The songs on this album are generally slower paced and lacking the focus on dramatic movements and other features of a more bombastic nature I associate with Yes.

My main impression is that "Citizen" is a well made and excellently produced concept album, in terms of style residing somewhere in the neo-progressive oriented parts of the symphonic progressive rock universe. The main focus is on melodies and harmonies, and with the lead vocals given a lot of the limelight here. Which isn't all that unexpected presumably, as a concept is explored and stories are told. Those with a general taste for compelling, well made and well produced albums that arguably may be placed somewhere close to a neo progressive context comes across as a key audience for this album in my book.

 Collection by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
2.17 | 5 ratings

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Collection
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Dark to light

This brand new compilation album documents Billy Sherwood's impressive and unfairly neglected solo career by presenting one track from each of his seven solo albums to date. To round off the disc, we are also treated to two previously unreleased tracks.

Collection opens with Drone Deciphers taken from 2012's The Art Of Survival. This excellent track is a good choice to represent that great album but I find it a somewhat odd choice as an opener of this compilation as it is a song of a subdued nature. Next up is the 11 minute plus Seeing Through The Walls from the 2008 album At The Speed Of Life. Again, this is a very good song, but also somewhat downbeat. The first up-tempo track on Collection is Call, taken from what I think is Sherwood's masterpiece: his 1999 solo debut The Big Peace. Call is again a very good track, but not the best or most essential track from that outstanding album.

From the oldest to the most recent: next comes On Impact from Billy's latest solo album to date, 2014's Divided By One. This is the kind of track that perhaps would have been a more fitting opening track (as it was on Divided By One). Billy second solo effort, 2003's No Comment, is represented here by Dying Breed. From 2010's Oneirology comes The Recurring Dream. This is another strong track, though I would have chosen the title track instead. Finally, What Was The Question? taken from the excellent 2011 album of the same name concludes the backward-looking part of Collection on a high note.

The two previously unreleased tracks include a cover of a song by Sting called I Hung My Head. The other is a new Sherwood original called Dark To Light. While both of these new recordings are enjoyable and welcome additions to the fan's collection, they are not up to the high standards set by the seven previously released album tracks. Still, it is the presence of these two previously unreleased tracks that makes Collection a worthwhile purchase for fans like me who already have all of Billy's regular solo albums.

Sherwood's first seven solo albums range from outstanding to very good and I highly recommend checking out Sherwood's solo discography. But this compilation album is probably not the best place to start your investigation into Billy Sherwood. As far as compilation albums go, Collection is a good one, but my advice is to go straight to the regular albums from which these songs were taken.

 Divided By One by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.00 | 7 ratings

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Divided By One
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars On impact

First released digitally in 2014 and now getting a welcome CD release on Cherry Red records coming out at the end of this month, Divided By One is Billy Sherwood's seventh solo album and his latest one to date. As usual, Billy does everything himself and once again both the musicianship and the production is of the highest quality.

Compared to the previous The Art Of Survival, this album turns up the tempo a bit and focuses more on somewhat shorter, more accessible tunes. Songs like the title track and No Stone Unturned are catchy, melodic rockers and The Scene Comes Alive even moves dangerously close to Pop with Billy's voice getting the "voice box" treatment (which is not as bad as it sounds)! Here For You is more of a Rock ballad, which is uncharacteristic of Sherwood's solo career, but it reminds a little of some songs that Billy have done in other contexts such as Love Conquers All (on the Yesyears box set) or Say Goodbye (from World Trade's Euphoria album) for example.

The more progressive songs on the album include the symphonic opener On Impact, which also is my favourite, and the album closer End Of An Era. Another favourite is Sphere Of Influence which features some great, and very characteristic, Sherwood bass guitar work. This song also has some very nice acoustic stringed instrument (is it a mandolin?).

Divided By One is my least favourite of Billy Sherwood's seven solo albums, but it is nonetheless definitely a good album. Billy simply doesn't know how to make a bad album! If you, like me, have and enjoy Sherwood's previous solo albums, then you will enjoy this one as well, as I certainly do. However, if you are new to Sherwood's excellent solo career you should begin with some of his excellent other albums, starting with his first two.

 Universal Garden by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
1.95 | 2 ratings

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Universal Garden
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars A good song from an underrated album

Universal Garden is a song that first appeared as the third track on the Yes album Open Your Eyes. The present digital single by the song's original architect Billy Sherwood is a re-recorded version of the song on which Billy sings and plays all the instruments as well as producing.

1997's Open Your Eyes is a controversial album among Yes fans, but I have always found it a good album. Sherwood had just been promoted to full member of the band at the time (after having contributed to Yes for several years as session man, producer, live back-up musician, and song writer). Billy brought a lot of material to the band at this time, several songs of which were originally intended for a project with Chris Squire which was later to materialize in the form of Conspiracy. Universal Garden was one of these songs and it is one of the best songs from Open Your Eyes and Sherwood is rightly proud it. He also performed the song live-in-the-studio with Chris Squire in Conspiracy (which is documented on the live album and video called Conspiracy Live).

This new version is not terribly different from the Open Your Eyes version, but keeping in mind the song's pre-Yes origin, this newly recorded version is perhaps closer to how the song was originally conceived prior to the recording of Open Your Eyes? I wouldn't say that any of the two versions is better than the other, they are both equally good versions. Since the album version of Universal Garden was never released as a single, and given the special significance of the song for Billy, releasing his own version of the song in 2015 makes sense. Yes fans and fans of Billy Sherwood will find this single an interesting listen.

This digital single consists of only a single track and there is thus no b-side included. This is a bit of shame as it would have been interesting to hear more. Hopefully, Billy will revisit more Yes songs in the future.

 The Art of Survival by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.92 | 6 ratings

BUY
The Art of Survival
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Humming along

On The Art Of Survival, Billy Sherwood slows the tempo down a little bit and takes a somewhat more electronic turn compared to previous albums. I would say that this album owes as much or more to Pink Floyd as it does to Yes. The lyrics are more political than before, treating subjects such as war and the surveillance state ("to keep us all in check"); Sherwood's lead guitar often sounds like that of David Gilmour, and there are even some Pink Floyd-ish spoken word samples in some songs.

The change in direction here does not involve any dip in quality. The compositions, the musicianship and the production are still top notch, and from a production point of view Billy may even outdo himself here. The sound of this album is absolutely superb! My favourite track is the opener The Military Industrial Complex which is one of the more direct songs on the album, but the whole album is great. Whether you will prefer this album over others or not is, I suspect, very much a matter of taste and it took me somewhat longer to get into this album. But it continued to grow on me over many listens and it proved to be yet another excellent album from Sherwood.

Highly recommended!

 What Was the Question? by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.89 | 8 ratings

BUY
What Was the Question?
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Going under the radar

Released in the same year as Circa's third (and best) album And So On, What Was The Question? is Billy Sherwood's fifth solo effort. While all of his solo albums are very good, the present disc is one of his best and most consistent. Once again, Billy has done almost everything himself, including writing the songs, singing, playing all the instruments, recording, and producing! I am amazed by Sherwood's incredible talent in all of these areas. This time around he did have a little help from John Wetton who does some backup vocals on Delta Sierra Juliet (but it is very discreet, and I didn't even notice Wetton's presence at first).

What Was The Question? is a really well-made album full of strong material and great playing. Picking out favourites, I would have to say the opening title track, Counting The Cables, and the aforementioned Delta Sierra Juliet, all of which are excellent songs, but the whole album works well as a unit.

It is a real shame that Sherwood's solo discography seems to go under the radar of so many progressive Rock fans (at least at Prog archives). Billy deserves much more recognition in these parts, and together with his first two solo albums, What Was The Question? is a good place to start your investigation.

Highly recommended!

 Oneirology by SHERWOOD, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.04 | 5 ratings

BUY
Oneirology
Billy Sherwood Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars The Recurring Dream

Oneirology is the name of the scientific study of dreams. It is also the name of Billy Sherwood's fourth solo album which appeared in 2010. Oneirology was the follow-up to 2008's At The Speed Of Life, and between those two solo discs Billy had also been busy with Circa, who had released their second studio album HQ in 2009 as well as a live album and video, and in addition to that also a compilation of extra material in the same year appropriately called Overflow.

As the title of the album implies, Oneirology is a concept album about dreams. The album opens with the heavy but at the same time also uplifting title track which is in the style of New State Of Mind from Yes' Open Your Eyes album, or perhaps rather how that song would have sounded if Billy had sung it rather than Jon Anderson. This is my favourite track off Oneirology, sporting some superb Chris Squire-like bass lines and guitar work from the incredible one-man-band that is Billy Sherwood. Generally the better tracks are in the first half of the album, but the rest of the album is good as well and thoroughly enjoyable all the way.

Overall, Oneirology is as good as, if not better - and more progressive - than both At The Speed Of Life and Circa's HQ, but it is not as strong as Billy's first two solo albums.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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