BILLY SHEEHAN – Cosmic Troubadour


Favored Nations
Release Date: February 22, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Does the phrase “Solo Album” leave a bad taste in your mouth or strike fear into your heart? It tends to mean that some member of a band has deemed themselves worthy of some praise away from their standard bread and butter. More often than not, these solo outings prove to be lackluster versions of the original product. Billy Sheehan is one of those rare exceptions where the one is actually larger than the whole.

Billy was every bit as big of a name as his Mr. Big Band ever was, if not bigger in some circles. Billy Sheehan sells out 5,000 seat venues to host bass clinics … not too many cats can do that. In jazz circles, the title of best bassist gets blurry … John Patitucci, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, or maybe Stanley Clarke. You see the point here; there are a lot of great players in the jazz genre.

Not to say there aren’t many amazing bassists in the rock world, but one who stands out as single-handedly redefining, or at least adding, a new dimension to how a bassist could be seen within the context of a band is Billy Sheehan … so when he releases his second solo outing it is with eager anticipation that we can wait, instead of the usual trepidation.

Sticking as close to “solo” as possible, Billy handles all of the vocals and most of the guitar work himself. He only enlists help from Ray Luzier on drums and from Simone Sello for additional guitar work and some programming.

Getting right into it, “Toss it on the Flame” opens with a cacophony of guitar and bass that only becomes more raucous as the verse sets in. A noticeably improved singer, Billy launches right in and sets the tone for the album, straight up Rock ‘N’ Roll. “Back in the Day,” the second track, is also a vocal song, this one a bit stronger in the memorable hook category. It is obvious that Billy is trying to get recognized as a quality songwriter as well as a legendary musician … and this should be the disk to prove that. There are a lot of interesting changes and progression, but without being overly distracting.

The rest of the disk goes back and forth between vocal songs and instrumental numbers. Even the instrumentals keep things short and sound like complete song compositions as opposed to long winded solos. “Long Walk Home” stands out as the only non-rock number, leaning a bit more to a cool new-age jazzy sound; it actually holds up as one of the best tracks on the record as far as just setting a mood and letting you ride along.

Overall, with fifteen tracks, the CD may be a little long, perhaps a bit self-indulgent, if you will. However, where else are you going to be self-indulgent if not on your own solo album? The album is still full of really good rock songs that feature not only some screaming bass lines, but some high intensity bass solos. The guitar work never stands out like your normal rock recordings, this is definitely a bass player’s album, but it sounds very complete in the end.

At the current date of writing this review, Billy isn’t doing a lot of touring as a solo artist, but is out on the road with none other than the six-string virtuoso Steve Vai, so be sure to check these guys out when they come anywhere near your town. It is bound to be an unforgettable experience!


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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