Sunday Morning Coffee:: The Sheepdogs

Classic rock is a tough sell. I mean, the majority of the bands trying to rehash the sounds of The Allmans or Skynyrd probably saw Almost Famous one too many times and can’t wait for it all to start happening. TOPEKA!

I’m 99% sure that traveling along the road of a modern classic rocker is almost impossible. People give anyone sounding like Neil Young or The Beatles a pass - not a John Mayer type of pass - but if you try to rekindle a love of Foghat people give you the gas face. Honestly, if you can actually find a classic rock fan, chances are they would always pick up a dusty CD from their shelf before heading down to a dingy club hoping to hear someone get it right when it comes to sampling from The Stones catalog.

It’s also the one genre that everyone assumes bands attack with a tongue planted firmly in cheek, resulting in songs steeped with irony. It becomes easy to dismiss the effort as a novelty act, instead of a bunch of dudes just loving music that came from years ago and was made with guitars, bass, drums and keys instead of Mac Books and loops. That my friend, is too bad because when a band gets it right - like Vancouver’s Lions in the Street - the results are enjoyable. An act that is right on the cusp of reaching that level is Saskatchewan’s The Sheepdogs. Their latest record - Learn & Burn - is full of classic rockers with some soul and sepia-drenched keys/organ mixed in an encased in a giant cloud of sweet smelling smoke.

I can’t say the record ever reaches that “classic” status for me, but I never question the band’s integrity. These songs never feel like The Sheepdogs are simply pilfering from the past and that’s why, even with the occasional mention of facebook, no one would object if you threw this record onto an old dive bar juke box and hit play. The recipe of guitars, drums and nicely executed harmonies feels legit, built on years of listening to the same songs and jamming out in the garage. You hear the familiar touch points - heavy in 70′s southern rock and some Beatles-y riffs - but you also can tell The Sheepdogs are trying hard to carve out their niche in a genre forgotten by most people unless karaoke is on the menu.

When the band gets it right - like they do with the nostalgic anthem, I Don’t Get By - you can’t help but think back to a time when music meant something and the nights spent listening to it were the best nights of your young life. The band will be making a stop here in Halifax to burn the Seahorse down on March 3rd. Might be time to get your matching denim jacket and jeans out of the closet and rock out.

MP3:: Sheepdogs - I Don’t Know

MP3:: Sheepdogs - Down By The River Louder (Neil Young)


This entry was posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2010 at 11:00 am and is filed under Canada, Music, Quick Hitters, Saskatchewan, The Sheepdogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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