Here’s a sneak peek as Ann Wilson of Heart offers a heartfelt take on John Lennon’s “Across the Universe” for a forthcoming Billy Sherwood-produced tribute to the Beatles. As per usual, Sherwood has gathered a stirring group of all-star guests to round out the project, even while serving as a key multi-instrumental presence throughout.
For “Across the Universe,” which originally appeared on the Beatles’ Let It Be, Sherwood added a melodic turn on a Spector bass. “The record is coming out very cool, with interesting versions of classics,” Sherwood says. “I did some Tony Levin-type fretless on this one. I’m a huge fan of Tony’s playing.”
Elsewhere on the album, long-time collaborator John Wetton (Asia/King Crimson) sings “Penny Lane.” For this, Sherwood is featured on his unique Babicz acoustic. Jack Bruce of Cream fame takes over vocals for “Eleanor Rigby.” Al Stewart, best known for “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages,” sat in on “I Feel Fine.”
Irish singer-songwriter Liz Madden handles “Blackbird,” which builds off the old Jaco Pastorius arrangement of the White Album classic. “I always loved Jaco’s version of the song,” Sherwood confirms, “and so I borrowed a bit of that spirit in the production, used my fretless bass alongside the traditional acoustic guitar part.” The album will also include turns by Dale Bozzio, Martha Davis, David Clayton Thomas, KC of KC and the Sunshine Band and Todd Rungren — the latter of whom will be singing “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.”
The always-busy Sherwood, who rose to fame as a member of Yes in the 1990s, recently mixed his old band’s new studio effort, Heaven and Earth. He’s also at work on another Circa album with fellow Yes alum Tony Kaye, and is set to mix an upcoming live DVD from Yes’ on-going new tour.