Monday, 17 March 2014

Gimme Five: Post-Yes Songs By Billy Sherwood

With the recent news that Billy Sherwood is returning to do some studio work on the new Yes album, fans may be wondering just what the ex-1990s-era collaborator has been up to lately. Here’s a primer, with key songs from his subsequent solo career, work with ex-Yes bandmate Chris Squire and with his band Circa — which features Tony Kaye, another fellow Yes alum …
“AND SO ON,” with CIRCA (AND SO ON, 2011): Circa has every right, of course, to sound like Yes, considering that its two principal creative forces are former members of the band, and this is the tune that makes the most of that prog-rock promise. “And So On” actually boasts clear DNA strands from the two principal periods of hit-making music for Yes, both old and new: Kaye was the group’s original keyboardist, a period that saw him co-write “Yours Is No Disgrace” for The Yes Album, before Rick Wakeman took over. Kaye then returned to Yes for its synth-driven prog-pop era a decade later — staying from 1983-1995 in his second stint. It was then that he met Sherwood.
Together now in Circa, they were joined for this album by like-minded confederates in guitarist Johnny Bruhns (a member the post-Yes amalgam Yoso) and drummer Ronnie Ciago (who’s worked with Patrick Moraz, Relayer-period member of Yes). The result is an atom-smashing amalgam of both eras — and nowhere is that more evident than on this, the epic nine-minute title and opening track. It’s all there: A soaring vocal, a dynamic song structure featuring a series of abrupt changes in tempo and atmosphere, this impossibly buoyant bass line, guitar shapes that sound at once classical and modern, keyboards that meander with introspective verve, and a sunny disposition set a time-machine levels.

Read on...

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