The Sheepdogs' "Learn and Burn"

A good friend of mine recently recommended the Sheepdogs to me. I finally had the time today to give them a real listen, and I am so glad I did. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Sheepdogs blend a Creedence-esque approach to structure and melody (fitting, as they toured with John Fogerty in Australia in 2011) with the similarly working-man stylings of bands like Gov't. Mule and Cake. It's hard to pin down what decade their music reminds you of, since in one song they can traverse the musical gaps and let their influences from the '60s up through the current decade mix up a stew of jangly goodness. Having already graced the cover of Rolling Stone as an unsigned act (the first to do so), they have recently picked up steam, playing Bonnaroo in 2011. Their 2010 album "Learn and Burn" is a not-quite-southern-fried good collection of harmonious rock anthems, beach music, ripping solos and screaming organs. The album really gets going on the title track, with the call and response between frontman Ewan Currie and the rest of the band (Leot Hanson on guitar, Ryan Gullen on bass, and Sam Corbett on drums) building up to a sizzling guitar duel between Currie and Hanson. The rhythm section stays tight and keeps the tension building underneath the fuzzy lead riffs. It would be a good one to see live. There's even a tasty saxophone solo on "Right On". The jaunty opening of "Southern Dreaming" is one of the most pleasant sounds I've heard in a while. Barely after the sunniness has faded, along comes "Soldier Boy" followed by "Catfish 2 Boogaloo", two straight-up dirty '70s jams; echoing vocals over thundering bass, pounding drums and screeching guitar. The album finishes strong with the dramatic piano and brass in "Rollo Tamasi" and the four-movement "Medley" that runs all over the place from acoustic chill-out to full-on sun dance rock. It's good music that I'm sure is just fantastic live. Hopefully they come to Illinois sometime :) 

Photos from their Facebook page:

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