Canadian roll and rock group The Sheepdogs released their latest album, Changing Colours, earlier this year. Blues Rock Review caught up with drummer Sam Corbett to discuss the album and more.
There’s a very ’70s sound to a lot of the tracks, is that the era your influences come from ? There’s a definite Jam band feel.
We love the music of the ’70s, and everything that influenced the music of the ’70s. R&B, jazz, soul, country, early rock, ’60s psychedelic, folk, they’re all part of ’70s rock, and they’re all a part of our sound as well.
Individually, what were your influences for taking up your instruments?
Speaking personally, it was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, and basically thinking that John Bonham was the baddest man on the planet.
The songs I’ve heard have fantastic lyrics, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Ewan writes the lyrics, but I’ve heard him say before that the music always comes first, and then he finds words to fit the melodies. He’s an avid reader, so maybe that offers some inspiration.
Think I’m right in saying you’ve recruited Jimmy Bowskill ( I’ve heard of him, got a couple of his cds!) , how did that come about?
We found ourselves down a guitarist in the middle of our U.S. tour, and so our guitar tech recommended Jimmy to us (we had never met before) as a replacement. We flew him in, he learned all our songs in a couple days, and he’s been with us ever since.
Being an ex-naval man, what’s with the brief track HMS Buffalo?
-Ewan’s a history buff, so I think he just liked the sound of that name. I don’t think there’s a lot of significance, especially since that song had a different name while we were working on it
Unfortunately I missed your recent London gig, what can audiences expect, does the reaction vary at all between home and abroad?
You can expect a lot of straight ahead rock a roll songs, but a lot of variety as well. We switch it up and do songs with trombone, pedal steel, and fiddle.
You mostly do original material, but what would be your favourite, crowd-stopping cover?
The Allman Brothers are a huge influence of ours, so it makes sense for us to cover them. We’ve done “Whipping Post” and “Rambling Man” as encore songs before, and they always go over like gangbusters.
Any printable experiences from the road?
Yes, most of them are printable. We don’t party like Motley Crue or anything, but we like to enjoy ourselves and have a good time after the show. Wink
Who would be a dream addition(s) to your band on stage?
Maybe some day we’ll go full Rolling Stones and have a horn section and female back up singers. Right now we don’t have the budget though.
Any song that you wish I’d written that?
The song I was think of when asked that question is “Slip On Through” by The Beach Boys (written by Dennis), just because I really like it, and it’s a good mix of unusual and catchy. I suppose I should probably pick a song that was a little more successful though..
Changing Colours (loving the English spelling, by the way !), is released now, as I hinted at before, I love its diversity, but what, if any, tracks really made you sit up and think yeah, we’ve cracked?
Track one “Nobody” and “Saturday Night” do it for me btw, (radio friendly) “Nobody” is a good pick. Honestly though, I’m very proud of all these tracks, and every one of them has given me that feeling at one point or another. Maybe that comes with the pride of working on it, but I bet not every band gets to say that about all their songs. Also, we Canadians always use the British spellings, or at least that’s what we’re taught in school.
Where would you hope to be as a band in say five years?
If we could play the same size shows in the UK and US that we play in Canada, that would be awesome. But truthfully, I’m just very happy to be playing music for a living, so if we were in the exact same place, that would be fine with me too.
Any plans to return to the UK?
Yes, we will be back this summer, stayed tuned for more info
Interview by Clive Rawlings