Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Billy Sheehan – Holy Cow!

Some of the most talented musicians on the planet seem to get lost sometimes in the liner notes, next to the more recognizable "star" power. Billy Sheehan has luckily gotten more notice than some of his peers, and maybe a little bit of that has something to do with the fact that he's so frikkin' tall, but it's likely that it has even more to do with his legendary skills on four strings. Chances are, you know Sheehan's name from the celebrated Eat 'Em and Smile lineup of David Lee Roth's solo career, as a member of Mr. Big, Talas, his work with Steve Vai, and the list goes on and on.

As a musical nerd who really digs the cats like drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Stu Hamm, and guitarist Steve Lukather, Sheehan was of course one of the early names that wound up on my list of players that were just a ton of fun to watch, visually. My "nerd-out" record of 2008 was Lukather's Ever Changing Times, and like a rock to the head, along comes Holy Cow!, the new solo entry from Sheehan making sure that I won't find my "nerd-out" musical category lacking in 2009.


It's a bass player's record, which means that unlike OU812 and Justice, you can actually HEAR the bass on this one. And let's face it, some of these solo excursions can get pretty damn artistic, which is thankfully avoided by Holy Cow!. In fact, this album is a must for fans of King's X, Eric Gales Band, and yes, Mr. Big. While it isn't a King's X record, or even a solo record from a King's X member (although it does feature a guest vocal on a track from King's X vocalist Dug Pinnick,) I think that King's X fans in particular will enjoy Holy Cow!. The sound of Holy Cow! flies comfortably in the zone of what many fans (myself included) have come to love about King's X - AND it contains the SONGS that in my opinion have been missing from some of the more recent King's X efforts.

But this is a Billy Sheehan album, not a King's X album, and what you'll quickly learn from listening to it is that Sheehan is just as comfortable playing guitar as he is playing the bass. Sheehan plays the bulk of the instrumentation on the album himself (14 tracks total, including 3 bonus tracks for the U.S. release,) handling all vocals, bass, guitars, and even some harmonica. Drummer Ray Luzier (DLR Band, Army of Anyone, Korn) lays down the thud on Holy Cow! and the whole thing is wrapped together with an in your face mix that really shreds. In addition to Luzier and Pinnick, Sheehan managed to dial a few more digits in his cell phone for guest appearances, including, um, Billy Gibbons, who drops some sleazy Texas riffing on "A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To Ya Ev'ry Time."

The fretwork blisters to a fever pitch on "Dynamic Exhilarator" revealing the arrival of fellow Mr. Big bandmate Paul Gilbert on lead guitar, which might inspire some to remove their Holy Cow! artwork and rename it Holy F*ck! For ye who are in search of some instrumental wank, "Dynamic Exhilarator" will do ya right.

Holy Cow! is one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable albums that I've received this year, and really, I don't know why I was so surprised that it is so good. It's Billy Sheehan, folks!

Here's a coupla sample tracks to feed your ears and after you hear these, you'll be heading out to get your own Holy Cow!

Billy Sheehan - In A Week Or Two (I'll Give It Back To You)

Billy Sheehan - A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To Ya Ev'ry Time (with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top)

Purchase Holy Cow! from Amazon - CD or MP3

  • Rob

    WOW this is good stuff… thanks for the tip!

  • Deno

    An amazing effort by a gifted artist. Billy has really put together a monster of an album, here. What a pleasure!

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