The Sheepdogs Review

The Sheepdogs’ latest effort, as they climb the industry ladder, comes locked and loaded, under the guidance of Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney.  Their fourth studio album, and first under major recording label Atlantic Records, dons the title, The Sheepdogs, a good old eponymous break into the mainstream.  It’s about time people knew who these Saskatoonites were.  The band, comprised of vocalist/guitarist Ewan Currie, guitarist Leot Hanson, bassist Ryan Gullen and drummer Sam Corbett, sets the bar high with this release.

As if to ease us into what’s to come, The Sheepdogs kicks off with “Laid Back,” a feel-good tune about the way life should be.  Then, without warning, the band kicks on the distortion pedal and straps you in for one catchy, upbeat chorus to let you know how they’re feeling.  And they’re “Feeling Good.” After all, they did just sign their first major label and partner up with one of rock’s biggest sensations in Carney.  And that’s just “The Way It Is,” which happens to be another hit from Ewan and crew.  The opening back-beat by Corbett’s drum sets the tone for this track, as Leot’s riffs weave in and out.  The vocal harmonies, in-sync with piercing guitar licks offer depth and simply make you want to wail along.  “Javelina!” is quick to follow, and is reminiscent of “Jessica,” a classic Allman instrumental.  Sticking to their roots and playful vibe, The Sheepdogs give us a song to make Jerry (Garcia) proud.  “How Late, How Long” is one fun thigh-tappin’ tune.  And as no classic sound is complete without a little Middle-Eastern influence (enter The Beatles), Leot tries his hand at a sitar-style ukulele on “In My Mind.”

The Sheepdogs’ fusion of classic sounds with a modern rock mindset offers the industry a fresh and exciting outlook for what’s to come.  The band took great strides on the self-titled record, and it’s sure to pay off.  There is a delicate balance between the influence of their roots and the intertwining of edgier alternative riffs within each track.  This is something old and new all at once; something for a wide span of generations, a feat not easily accomplished in today’s music scene.  Thumbs way up for The Sheepdogs. Catch ’em on the rise.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Feeling Good
– Alright OK
– The Way It Is
– I Need Help
– How Late, How Long
– While We’re Young

The Big Hit

– Feeling Good

Review by Don Tice

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