Monday, February 5, 2018


The Sheepdogs have always had a reputation as a throwback guitar bunch, and the group's latest certainly starts out like that. Lead cut "Nobody" is a fun groove with the usual great Southern brotherly harmonies, and lots of guitar lines between each verse and chorus. That's followed by "I've Got A Hole Where My Heart Should Be", the most Skynyrd-like song here, and it looks like business as usual.

But they start mixing things up as the album progresses. "Saturday Night" is more reflective of '70's pop, with its big chorus and stuttered "Sss-sss--sss-Saturday Night" hook. "Let It Roll" is a breezy acoustic ballad sweetened with pedal steel and a mellow electric piano solo, while "The Big Nowhere" is a big Latin number, full of percussion, right out of the Santana playbook.

Things get really interesting for "I Ain't Cool" as the group moves quite a bit outside their comfort zone, with a bright brass line heralding this soulful track with touches of Little Feat. "Cool Down" is another soulful one, but now doubling back with some of the Latin feel and smoothness dropped in. Then without a pause between the tracks comes the twin guitar soloing of "Kiss The Brass Ring", which then leads into a more groovy jam, and a brief return to the "Cool Down" theme.

Sometimes all this switching about can be jarring, and some of the parts and sounds seem to come out of nowhere, but I'll trade those forced moments for The Sheepdogs' freedom. The experimenting comes to a fascinating conclusion with a grand medley of six cuts that's the most country rock thing here, and a chance for all the players and singers to shine one last extended time. The group tried really hard to stretch, and make a solid, start-to-finish album, and succeeded beautifully.

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