Album: Elements
Artist: Yoso
2010 Frontiers Records s.r.l.
CD: FR CD 466

Bobby Kimball: lead vocals
Tony Kaye: keyboards, Hammond organ
Billy Sherwood: vocals, bass, guitars, drums

Bonus disc (no credits given):
Bobby Kimball: lead vocals, additional keys
Tony Kaye: keyboards, Hammond organ
Billy Sherwood: vocals, bass
Jimmy Haun: guitars, backing vocals
Louis "Lou" Molino III: drums, backing vocals


Produced, recorded and mixed by Sherwood at 4Tune Studios
Mastered by Joe Gastwirt
Managed by 2 Plus Music & Entertainment (Derek Shulman/Leonardo Pavkovic)
Band photography and logo designed by Michi Sherwood
Cover painting & artwork: Richard Mace
Special thanks to Jimmy Haun and Jay Schellen


Tracks:
1. Yoso [Sherwood/Kimball] (4:18)
2. Path to Your Heart [Sherwood/Kimball] (4:22)
3. Where You'll Stay [Sherwood/Kimball] (3:40)
4. Walk Away [Sherwood/Kimball] (4:33)
5. The New Revolution [Sherwood/Kimball] (3:42)
6. To Seek the Truth [Sherwood/Kimball] (4:25)
7. Only One [Sherwood/Kimball] (3:43)
8. Close the Curtain [Sherwood/Kimball] (4:44)
9. Won't End Tonight [Sherwood/Kimball] (3:59)
10. Come This Far [Sherwood/Kimball] (4:19)
11. Time to Get Up [Sherwood/Kimball] (3:51)
12. Return to Yesterday [Sherwood/Kimball] (7:19)

Bonus CD:
13. Yoso (5:31)
14. Rosanna (6:17)
15. Owner of a Lonely Heart (6:19)
16. Walk Away (4:47)
17. Good for You (3:37)
18. Yes Medley: Yours is No Disgrace/Heart of the Sunrise/South Side of the Sky/Starship Trooper/I've Seen All Good People (8:59)
19. To Seek the Truth (4:27)
20. Hold the Line (4:17)
21. Cinema (2:04)
22. Gift with a Golden Gun (4:20)
23. White Sister (6:17)

Notes: Sherwood has explained: "Yoso was started when I suggested to Bobby Kimball we should write some new music and form a band, we had been working together on various tribute projects I was producing and one thing lead to another, before too long we had 5 songs in the can and were well on our way to making a record and thinking seriously about taking it to the next level. Once there was a few songs underway the concept grew into the band we now have, Yoso." Kimball and Sherwood first met at the beginning of the 1980s when Sherwood was in Lodgic, and Kimball has appeared on a number of Sherwood's tribute album projects. The It Can Happen tour of Italy by CIRCA:—i.e. Sherwood, Kaye, Haun, Schellen—and Kimball was planned for Feb 2009 with a set encompassing CIRCA:, Toto and Yes material. (The full line-up was also to include Michael Sherwood (Billy's brother) and then Matt Brown (of Genesis tribute Gabble Ratchet and Yes tribute Closer to the Edge) on keys and backing vocals.) However, the tour was cancelled late in the day.

In early 2009, Sherwood tweeted about what he called the Hybrid Project, before the new band was announced under the name AKA. However, in Jul 2009, Sherwood said to ProgressiveEars.com: "Due to the trademark "AKA" being taken we are renaming the band." Thus the new name Yoso. However, Schellen withdrew, given commitments to Asia Featuring John Payne, and Molino took over for live work in late 2009. He too then stepped aside given other commitments and by the beginning of 2010, Jody Cortez (who had worked with Sherwood in a short-lived band ETC...) was on drums. By then, Yoso had become managed by Derek Shulman (formerly of Gentle Giant, Shulman managed Yes for a period and signed both Sherwood's World Trade and Dream Theater) with Leonardo Pavkovic. Sherwood then announced further line-up changes with Scott Connor (of Gabble Ratchet) on drums, percussion and backing vocals and Johnny Bruhns (from Yes tribute band Roundabout; he filled in at a Yes rehearsal in 2009) on guitar and backing vocals. Haun had withdrawn to focus on commercial work.

The debut album began in Apr 2009: Sherwood tweeted about writing and recording 10 songs across that month, with music by him, lyrics by Kimball. In a May 2010 interview, describing the final album, Kaye said most of the lyrics are by Kimball and practically all of the music is by Sherwood. In a Jun 2010 interview, Kimball described writing the album, Sherwood handling the music and him the lyrics: "After Billy and I wrote all of the songs for the CD, the other guys came in and added their parts to make it a band CD." On 25 May, Sherwood said to Yesfans.com: "10 songs well on their way but still needing TLC." On 7 Jun, he tweeted, "Working on backing vocals for the "AKA" record... 6 songs near completion, 4 to go"; in late Jun, about recording Kaye's final organ parts for the album. In mid-Jul, he tweeted about a recording session for "Higher Road" with Kimball and said they only had three more lead vocals to record. Mixing followed in Aug. In mid-Aug, Sherwood said to Yesfans.com: "The new record {cd} is almost completed. I am mixing it now. 3 Songs mixed, 9 to go." In Sep 2009, Sherwood announced that they had finished mastering.

The album was initially recorded by Sherwood (vocals, all instruments) and Kimball (vocals). Kaye then came in to record keyboard parts, and likewise Haun on guitar and Schellen on drums (the plan at one stage was for 4 songs to feature Schellen). When Molino replaced Schellen, he then recorded alternate drum parts for the album, but with Haun's and Molino's departure, the eventual release uses Sherwood's guitar and drum tracks. The initial plan was also to self-release the album under the name Yoso, but a deal with Frontiers Records was then signed and they asked for a separate album name, thus Elements. Band logo and artwork were by Michi Sherwood (Billy's wife), but Frontiers Records also produced new artwork, although Michi's logo remains. In Jul 2010 to Yesfans.com, Sherwood explained:

Jim [Haun] made it known early on he would not be able to make the full comittment to Yoso in the way we knew ultimately we needed {touring bands require a lot of time from people and from their lives}. With that as the backdrop...

I had all the gtr and drum parts tracked and done {I sketched out some keys but didn't bother much knowing TK was into it from the word go...}. Jay did play a few tracks as did Jim, then Jay left the band and knowing Jim was destine to as well... I went back to the original tracks I had already cut and finished the record.

In a subsequent post, he said:

The way we got where we are now {Frontiers records} was a journey filled with twists and turns, members coming and going, 1st we were to self release it {when there was no label} and so in the mastering we/Yoso were set to call the record "Yoso". This is on the "mastered" disc info and subsequently is now embedded onto the disk that went to the manufacturing plant. Once the label jumped in everything changed, art work {Frontiers with the exception of our Logo}, format {Frontiers wanting to include bonus CD} and title {Frontiers wanted the CD to have a "title" hence "Elements"}.

The band were promoted on their links to Yes and Toto, a combination reflected in their name. On 1 Sep 2009, Sherwood said: "It's an inter[e]sting mixture of styles. Of course it has the Toto/YES/Circa: elements which come by proxy of the people involved but... there is something all it's own about the sound." And then:

my personal choices are 3 songs that are super strong, hooky, radio friendly....
1: Yoso
2: Where You'll Stay
3: Walk Away

In Oct 2009, Sherwood described the band: "Sounds like a hydrid of Toto/Circa:Yes/Steely Dan/The Band and others in the tradition of classic rock." Kimball blogged in Apr 2009, "The CD [...] has so many elements from Toto/Yes[ ]and Asia in the music." Asked about the style of music in Apr 2009, Sherwood said: "The arrangments are more straight ahead and song oriented, Where CIRCA: stretches those limits "AKA" remains within the traditional bounds of classic song writing structures. That said it remains very musical." In mid-Jun 2010, Sherwood explained to Yesfans.com about the inclusion of a bonus live disc:

We/Yoso would have been perfectly fine {and had planned}to release Yoso as a stand alone "preimere debut release"
Frontiers wanted to have a "bonus cd".

[...] Record labels will do what they wish.

[...] There's no shame in releasing music in any format... As long as it's presented with integrity. TK and I have our YES pasts as Bobby has Toto past, these will never not be in play as far as media and record promo, it is what it is and they will do what they do...

 The heart of the matter is 12 new tracks from Yoso. [...] This is what it's about for us as the artists. We want to push forward and we are doing so, [...] The ends justify the means in our case, We just want to be Yoso... the label and machine behind it all are the ones reminding everyone of our not so hidden pasts lol. Don't expect that to change anytime soon.

All that said.. the bonus CD has some kick *** versions of some beloved YES and Toto material. For that I am proud, it's an honor to play the music, and by no means a shame.

The band (with Schellen/Haun) had played a showcase of ~45 min.s at Uncle Studios, CA on 1 May 2009 for a promoter. The set then consisted only of material by Yes ("Roundabout", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Changes", "Hold On", "Cinema") and Toto ("Rosanna", "Africa", "White Sister" and another piece). Their proper live debut was 3 Mexican dates in Oct 2009 with Molino/Haun (tickets still had the old band name and read "TOTO Y YES JUNTOS: AKA", or "Toto and Yes together: AKA"): a corporate gig for Microsoft Mexico (~600 attendance) and two public concerts with attendances around 2,000 each. The set list for the opening night was: "Yoso", "Girl Goodbye" (Kimball sang lead on the Toto songs), "Cinema", "Good for You", "Hold On" (Sherwood sang lead on the Yes songs), "Walk Away", "Gift with a Golden Gun", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Africa", "New Revolution", "Yes Montage" (with "Yours is No Disgrace", "Heart of the Sunrise", "South Side of the Sky", "Starship Trooper", "All Good People"—vocals on "All Good People" only), "Where You'll Stay", "Rosanna", "Changes", "To Seek the Truth", "White Sister", "Hold the Line", "Roundabout". Sherwood was producing, mixing and co-video editing a DVD to be entitled "Yoso Live in Mexico 2009" in HD. However, this was then dropped. Sherwood explained in May 2010: "The Yoso Live in Mexico DVD has been scrubbed, since we went through a radical change in line up recently we decided rather than release it and have confusion, we thought we would wait for the next chance to film a Yoso show and create it from that, with the real band as it has become." However, this appears to be the source for the live bonus disc here. The band played a German festival on 24 Mar 2010 with Cortez/Haun. A tour with Scott Connor (of Genesis tribute band Gabble Ratchet; drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Johnny Bruhns (of Yes tribute band Roundabout and filled in at a Yes rehearsal in 2009; guitar, backing vocals) is to follow from August.

The final album hues much more towards Toto than Yes in style. Sherwood's guitar and drum work are good, although the live versions on the bonus disc, with Haun/Molino, have that bit more to them. (HP, 31 Jul 10)
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