There’s really no denying that Billy Sheehan is one of the best musicians alive today. In fact, he may be the best electric bassist of all time. Though his career, Billy had played with a variety of bands, including Mr. Big, Talas and David Lee Roth. Now, Billy is back with a solo record which also happens to feature Billy Gibbons, Paul Gilbert and Ray Luzier.
Holy Cow! (Mascot) mixes instrumental pieces with more traditional rock songs. All told, Holy Cow! stands to be one of the best releases of 2009, for both quality of writing and complexity of guitar work.
I recently interviewed Billy for Noisecreep and we discussed both Holy Cow! and the upcoming Mr. Big reunion. Of the new album title, Billy says “I was surprised it wasn’t already an album title. I Googled it and I thought ‘Man, you mean this is ripe for the plucking?’ I love the phrase, use it a lot and I like the idea that it is related to a sacred cow and the idea something that is untouchable. The rest of the world, we look at a cow as something not very sacred at all, so there’s a kind of dichotomy there. Other factor – I called a friend of mine up and I said ‘You’ll never guess who I got to play on my record.’ He said ‘Who’ and I replied ‘Billy Gibbons’ and he went ‘Holy Cow!’ So that settled it and that’s how I named the record.”
The track listing for Holy Cow!:
01. In A Week Or Two (I'll Give It Back To You)
02. Dynamic Exhilarator
03. A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To 'Ya Ev'ry Time
04. A Bloodless Casualty
05. Make It To Another Day (I Keep Rolling On My Way)
06. Another Broken Promise
07. Just Another Humanoid
08. Turning Point
09. Two People Can Keep A Secret (If One Of Them Is Dead)
10. Theme From An Imaginary Science Fiction
11. Cell Towers
12. Swimming Underwater
All told, my favorite two songs on Holy Cow! are “In A Week Or Two (I'll Give It Back To You)” and “A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To 'Ya Ev'ry Time.” The latter features Billy Gibbons and sounds just like ZZ Top. Sheehan’s voice is great on this album. To be honest, I did a double-take at the liner notes just to confirm it was Sheehan doing the singing duties. On Holy Cow!, his voice sounds more focused and strong than in past efforts. This mixes well with the heavy guitar work.
There’s no doubt: if you like bass, guitars, Billy Sheehan, Mr. Big and ZZ Top, you need to buy Holy Cow!. Sure, there are instrumentals here that you might not always spin for a head banging Saturday night...but they might do while nursing a hangover on Sunday morning.
You can buy Holy Cow! now on iTunes.