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Cosmic Troubadour is the second solo album of the renowned bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Steve Vai, Mr. Big). Although Sheehan doesn't know music theory at all, he has been able to build himself quite a notable career in music. The story behind the title 'Cosmic Troubadour' is about Sheehan's view of himself. Sheehan sees himself as a troubadour, a person who's in it for the music, not for the money. " 'Cosmic' angle pertains to how you can basically go all across the planet and have your image and art transmitted throughout the solar system", Sheehan continues.
Although one could easily assume that Sheehan's solo albums are just him showing off his technique, it simply isn't true. Sheehan actually stresses that the music found on his new solo CD has more to do with pleasing himself on an aesthetic level. However, all the bassists out there will definitely find Sheehan's bass lines intriguing to say the least. According to Billy Sheehan, most of Cosmic Troubadour was written off the top of his head, so chiefly this album captures Sheehan's essence in its purest form.
Sheehan loves all forms of music and thus, whenever he records an album, he tries to make it as multi-dimensional as possible. That's exactly the way how he "constructed" Cosmic Troubadour. Partially the material on Cosmic Troubadour is extremely worthwhile, but on the other hand there are also songs that don't impress me so much. However, different songs appeal to different people since everybody has his own taste in music. Actually the songs that have vocals aren't as good as instrumentals, at least in my view. Therefore I consider following songs as the highlights of this album: "The Suspense Is Killing Me", "Dreams of Discontent", "Taj", "Hope" and the bonus track "A Million Tears Ago".
Cosmic Troubadour was recorded at Sheehan's home studio "The Digital Dungeon" in Sherman Oaks, California. Pat Reagan, who also produced Sheehan's debut album "Compression" in 2001 (not to mention of producing Mr. Big, Niacin and Ritchie Blackmore), once again handles the overseeing. The sounds are to the point with the exception of cymbals that could have been mixed somewhat better. Also a clip occurred few times (for example, on track 10), but otherwise the recordings are clean.
When it comes to bass virtuosos, I'm most impressed by Tony Levin and Stu Hamm, but Billy Sheehan definitely has his share as well. Occasionally he's really great, but at times his material isn't that fortuitous. Nevertheless, Cosmic Troubadour is quite a refreshing album that has its moments and which definitely bears repeated listenings.
Release date: 22.02.2005
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- MAGE (08.02.2005)
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