A few years back I interviewed Billy Sherwood and we began to talk about the Doctor Who book I wrote. He asked me if i ever listened to his album, CITIZEN, a concept album about a time traveler who ends up being reborn in different times and events in history. Doctor Who the musical, SOLD! I went right out and got the album and loved it! Now the next chapter....
As a musician, writer and producer, Billy Sherwood reminds me of Todd Rundgren, a visionary who has his own sound and styles and does what he does because he loves it. On CITIZEN - IN THE NEXT LIFE we return to the ever changing world(s) and times of the 'citizen' as he is there with Adolf Hitler in his bunker and spends time with Mata Hari, Christopher Columbus and Wyatt Earp... all in song. There is even a touching and quite emotional moment when the 'citizen' becomes late YES bassist Chris Squire, a friend of Sherwood. If you didn't know this, Squire selected Sherwood as his replacement in YES before he passed away.
On first listen, I wasn't quite feeling the fun and adventure like I did on the first. After about 20 full plays I really began to let myself become immersed in the album, and now I'm listening to it because I love it. The songs are incredibly enjoyable, something not easy to do on a concept album and Billy's musicianship (he plays everything) is stellar. Each song has its own feel. like the Trevor Rabin/YES influenced We Shall Ride Again and Sofia, to the very heavy The Partisan and the dreamy Hold Quite. Sherwood pulls out all the stops creating a modern masterpiece that also to me sounds like classic Genesis and for some odd reason, Robert Plant's PICTURES AT ELEVEN.
CITIZEN - IN THE NEXT LIFE is for anyone who loves challenging music, thought provoking lyrics and just a little more than verse, chorus, solo, verse, extended solo. Billy Sherwood should be incredibly proud of this album and I hope there is more Citizen in our future... or past.... or whenever.
MATMAN RATING - 5 OUT OF 5
CITIZEN - IN THE NEXT LIFE will be released on July 12th through Frontiers Music S.L.R.
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.