All-star Supertramp tribute, new prog-rock album on tap for Yes alum Billy Sherwood

Billy Sherwood, a 1990s-era member of Yes, is working on two new all-star projects – a tribute to Supertramp and an original prog-rock album.

A track like “The Laws of Nature,” for the Cleopatra Records prog release, illustrates the guest-packed theme: Sherwood confirms on his Facebook page that John Wetton (Asia, UK, King Crimson) is on vocals; Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, King Crimson) is on bass; and Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Styx, the Dixie Dregs) is on violin. Colin Moulding of XTC will appear on a track called “Check Point Karma,” too.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Billy Sherwood discusses his decade-long tenure with the legendary prog-rock band Yes, and how it all fell apart.]

Meanwhile, Deep Purple’s Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Kansas) is part of the Supertramp album, Sherwood said. Mickey Thomas of Starship fame will handle vocal duties on the familiar hit “The Logical Song.” Both Levin and fellow Yes alum Rick Wakeman will guest on a new version of Supertramp’s “Crime of the Century,” Sherwood said. Also on board: Steve Porcaro, co-founder of Toto, a band that Sherwood has also collaborated with in the past.

Richard Page, frontman of 1980s hitmakers Mr. Mister, is appearing on both the Supertramp tribute album (handling the hit “Give A Little Bit”) and Sherwood’s prog project – as is Larry Fast, a keyboardist who’s played with Peter Gabriel, Foreigner and Hall and Oates.

Yoso drummer Scott Connor appears on several tracks, too, including “Breakfast in America,” “Goodbye Stranger,” “Dreamer” and “Crime of the Century.”

Sherwood appeared on Yes’ 1991 release Union; toured with the band in support of 1994’s Talk; then co-produced and mixed Yes’ Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2 projects in 1996-97; was a key creative contributor to the band’s 1997 release Open Your Eyes and played on the subsequent tour; then finally appeared on 1999’s The Ladder and the live document from a subsequent tour, House of Yes.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Billy Sherwood, and Supertramp. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

ONE TRACK MIND: CIRCA FEATURING YES’ BILLY SHERWOOD AND TONY KAYE, “AND SO ON” (2011): Kaye returns to the Hammond organ — the instrument he was featured on during his last album with Yes, 1994’s Talk — as Sherwood sings with an unguarded abandon while deliriously thumping away on the bass. But it’s Bruhns, perhaps, who surprises the most – somehow combining both the modern edge of Trevor Rabin’s thundering 90125 riffs with the atmospheric intellect of Steve Howe.

BILLY SHERWOOD ON TOTO, PAUL RODGERS, JOHN WETTON AND YES: Go inside the studio as Sherwood enters the complex world of Yes, and find out how he came to work with David Paich on a signature Toto release. Sherwood also talks about key collaborations with John Wetton and Paul Rodgers, and enthuses about Circa — his band with fellow Yes alum Tony Kaye.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: SUPERTRAMP: Supertramp was many things over its too-brief period of hitmaking — art-rockish proggers, post-Beatle popsters, kinda-classical rockers, memory-defining radio monoliths. There was much to love as they moved, over the course of the early-1970s to the early-1980s, from the esoteric to the very top of the charts — something perhaps hastened by the core group’s relocation to the shiny sunscape of Los Angeles in 1977. What Supertramp never was, at least back then: Forgottable. Which only makes their slide into relative obscurity in the age of the Rehydrated-Classic-Rock-Mega-Reunion-Tour-and-T-shirt Extravaganza all the more head-scratchingly curious. If it pleases the court of public opinion, your friends over at SomethingElseReviews.com are here to plea Supertramp’s case.

ONE TRACK MIND: BILLY SHERWOOD, “LIVING IN THE NOW” (2011): Sherwood remains more than the sum of his Yes years. Across the breadth of What Was The Question?, as on his denser concurrent efforts alongside fellow Yes alum Tony Kaye in the band Circa, Sherwood dabbles in the weird impressionism of early Genesis, and the crinkly nerve of Jeff Beck. There are layer upon layer of multi-tracked vocals, straight out of the sun-drenched school of Brian Wilson. And the offbeat yet catchy compositional verve of those unjustly forgotten prog-rockers UK — fitting, since Sherwood produced John Wetton’s 2011 solo project, and has Wetton as a guest on this album’s “Delta Sierra Juliet.” That’s not to mention the thundering improvisational references to Weather Report.

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • Rachel Kensington

    Regarding Supertramp and the comment here on this page – … “which only makes their slide into relative obscurity in the age of the Rehydrated-Classic-Rock-Mega-Reunion-Tour-and-T-shirt Extravaganza all the more head-scratchingly curious.”

    I beg to differ! There’s no “slide into relative obscurity” for Roger Hodgson, co-founder of Supertramp. He has been touring worldwide for the past several years and selling out shows all over the globe. It is Roger’s distinctive voice that we think of when we think of Supertramp. Roger wrote and composed the great majority of the band’s hits to include Dreamer, Give a Little Bit, Take the Long Way Home, The Logical Song, Breakfast in America, It’s Raining Again, Fool’s Overture, School, and so many more. Although Roger and Rick Davies, the other co-founder, shared writing credit, they each actually wrote and composed separately.

    The kick off for Roger’s Breakfast in America tour is this very weekend in Temecula, CA. See why media and fans alike are ecstatic about his shows. Roger’s concerts are fantastic. It’s a thrill to see him perform the songs we have loved for years plus wonderful material from his solo albums. If you were or are a Supertramp fan, you’ve got to get yourself to Roger Hodgson’s show.

    • http://www.somethingelsereviews.com Nick DeRiso

      We appreciate Roger Hodgson’s contributions here at SER: That’s why we made Supertramp a Featured Artist, and later previewed Mr. Hodgson’s new tour: http://somethingelsereviews.com/2012/01/30/roger-hodgson-the-voice-of-supertramp-announces-new-breakfast-in-america-tour/.

      That said, there’s little doubt that his band has been widely overlooked when it comes to 1970s-era classic rock — something that we argued against, actually, in the quoted line above. Even a cursory reading of the lengthy article that follows that quote would have underscored the idea that we’re seeking to prove these overlookers wrong.

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROGER-HODGSON-SPANISH-FRIENDS-CLUB/107841509303593 Ana Lopez

    I can’t agree more with the comment by Rachel.

    Roger was the soul and heart of Supertramp, the feeling he can generate over two hours is much more powerful than you can’t imagine.

    When all of us think of Supertramp we think of the music we heard and knew in those golden years, so much of which were Roger’s songs.
    If you want to hear them, you have an unique opportunity in his shows.

    All together clapping, singing, dancing, and sometimes, also weeping…It’s a thrill, a blast, chills and goosebumps, all at the same time…
    So, nobody should miss a concert of Roger. It’s really worth!!!

    Ana López – Roger Hodgson Spanish Friends Club.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROGER-HODGSON-SPANISH-FRIENDS-CLUB/107841509303593