The Sheepdogs

When Rolling Stone was founded in 1967, it sought to capture the music and ethos of the San Francisco scene at the time. Many of the creators of that unrivaled period have long since passed, and time has shifted away from the psychedelic sounds that once dominated. Given the lineage of the magazine and the subsequent change in popular music tastes, it is all the more fitting that The Sheepdogs are one of several unsigned bands that are currently competing to be on the cover of Rolling Stone.

The Sheepdogs, who have been featured in these pages before, capture the sound and style of the late 60s and early 70s with surprising ease. This is not to say that the band is dated or that it missed its generation. In fact, to the contrary, The Sheepdogs create a timeless sound that is all too rare these days.

The intricate instrumentation, glorious harmonies, and stunning lead vocals that would have made them a perfect addition to a Fillmore bill featuring Big Brother and the Holding Company or Creedence Clearwater Revival were on full display at New York Citys Pianos last month. The band delivered a wonderful set that focused on tracks from their brilliant LP, Learn and Burn, and included two new tracks: “Who” and “How Late, How Long”, which can be downloaded here.

Rate The Sheepdogs at Rolling Stone by April 14th and help them advance to the coveted cover of Rolling Stone and an accompanying record contract with Atlantic Records. Both prizes would undoubtedly elevate the band closer to a much deserved level of recognition that was enjoyed by some of their musical forefathers.

The Sheepdogs – I Don’t Know

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Apparently, theres a saying that “nothing ever comes out of Saskatchewan, Canada except hookers and hockey players.” Nonetheless, there are at least two bands that are making a strong case for the statement to be augmented to include musicians. The Deep Dark Woods, a longtime favorite of HearYas, are one. While the other band, The Sheepdogs, are new to these pages.

Although The Sheepdogs are indeed from the north, they confess to looking south for their inspiration. This influence is clear on the bands latest LP, Learn and Burn, which presents 11 songs and concludes with a four-part medley. On “I Dont Know,” the lead vocals shine in front of hard-hitting electric guitar to attain a sound that is reminiscent of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The title track conjures thoughts of early Santana with its combination of percussion and spiraling guitar. The aptly named “Southern Dreaming” employs a beautiful guitar intro that invokes The Allman Brothers Band.

Almost every song seems to pay homage to a different legend of rock n roll. However, the band finds consistency and success in the use of soulful lead vocals, layered instrumentation, and striking harmonies that combine to achieve a brilliant sound throughout the record.

It was therefore, with considerable excitement that I attended a late afternoon unofficial CMJ showcase in Brooklyn on Wednesday to see The Sheepdogs play an acoustic set. Although limited to a handful of songs, they delivered a tremendous performance that highlighted each of the qualities that make The Sheepdogs a band to look out for. Hookers and hockey players should especially take note, as The Sheepdogs very well may steal your thunder.

The Sheepdogs – I Don’t Know

The Sheepdogs – Southern Dreaming (Live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

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