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Billy Sherwood - Citizen CD (album) cover


Billy Sherwood


Crossover Prog

3.59 | 32 ratings

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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.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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