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Cosmic Troubadour

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Album Review

On "Back in the Day," the "title track" of the Cosmic Troubadour disc — cosmic troubadour being the final words of the chorus — multi-instrumentalist Billy Sheehan sounds like a progressive Deep Purple during its "Perfect Strangers" phase. No surprise as the ex-leader of Talas worked with Purple's Glenn Hughes and former Deep Purple producer Pat Regan is back behind the console supervising this tight 15-selection journey. It's no-nonsense progressive pop with drummer Ray Luzier and Sheehan providing pretty much all the musicianship. The end result is imaginative and colorful, the duo doing the work of five people without getting redundant. Simone Sello adds some extra guitars, programming and electronics, but this is Billy Sheehan's musical statement with instrumentals "Taj," "Tower in the Sky," "Don't Look Down" and six others exploring different dimensions without getting tiresome. The bass wizard has a good voice and thought-provoking words "...with one slight levitation/If you lift just a little/I'll pull down from the middle" — his songs having definition and distinction, with or without vocals. The half-a-dozen tunes that have voice and lyric are in the minority here, but they're brimming with drama and give the album balance. "The Suspense Is Killing Me" forms a nice bridge between "Back in the Day" and the mechanical "From the Back Seat" — which would have been a perfect composition for the Ronnie James Dio version of Black Sabbath. Cosmic Troubadour is an appropriate title for this collection of ideas that indeed fell from above, more evidence that Billy Sheehan is a huge talent that deserves household recognition.


Born: 19 March 1953 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Often called "the Eddie Van Halen of the bass," Billy Sheehan just happened to catch his big break playing with former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth. Although Eddie Van Halen gets the lion's share of credit for popularizing the two- handed tapping technique on guitar, it's been rumored that Sheehan began utilizing the same technique around the same time, albeit on his bass, resulting in a debate during the '80s (among guitar geeks, at least) as to who was the true originator. Hailing from the...
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