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Billy Sherwood - The Big Peace CD (album) cover


Billy Sherwood


Crossover Prog

3.93 | 11 ratings

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4 stars He had learned his lessons!

After having honed his skills with Lodgic, World Trade, and Yes in the 80's and 90's, Billy Sherwood struck out on his own for the first time with The Big Peace - and what a fantastic solo debut it is! During his time with Yes he had picked up more than a few tricks from them, in particular from Chris Squire in the bass guitar and vocal departments and from Trevor Rabin (and to a lesser degree from Steve Howe) in the guitar department. Sherwood's association with Yes began when he was a session man during the recording of Union for which he also co-wrote one of the songs with Squire (The More We Live - Let Go). Another song from the same sessions (Love Conquers All) also co-written with Squire ended up on the box set Yesyears released in the same year of 1991. Sherwood accompanied the band on tour as an extra guitarist when touring in support of Talk in 1994 before he was promoted to full member for 1997's Open Your Eyes and subsequently The Ladder in 1999. With such an impressive CV, Billy thought it was time to prove himself as a solo artist and in the same year as Yes' The Ladder he released his solo debut The Big Peace.

In addition to being an excellent instrumentalist on both bass and guitar, Sherwood also plays keyboards and drums. As if that was not enough, he is also a very good singer, composer, and song-writer as well as having experience of mixing and production. All of these skills are on show in Billy's solo career which truly is a solo career in the sense that he does as much as possible himself. With The Big Peace he exceeded all expectations and delivers an album which is similar in style to the 90's Yes albums (all of which I like) but even surpasses them in consistency and coherence. It is however somewhat unfair to say that this is something of a lost Yes album as Billy has influences going beyond his old band. This is a solo album and Sherwood does his own thing, and he does it very well.

The two best compositions are the ones that bookend the album: the ten minute opener Lesson To Be Learned and the 15 minute title track that closes the disc, but there is not a weak moment to be found. From the funky bass lines, the heavy riffs, and the soaring lead guitar in Lesson To Be Learned through the tasteful Neo-Classical guitar work on Self Made World to the epic title track which is in the tradition of Endless Dream from Yes' Talk album, this album is consistently strong, powerful, and memorable. Of course, this won't be everybody's cup of tea, but it is definitely mine!

Billy Sherwood's solo career hit the ground running with his best album. Very highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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