Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy, safe to say three of the most talented musicians in rock, are The Winery Dogs. What can you say about these guys that hasn’t already been said? This is indeed a supergroup of musical talent and one that has produced a rock album that, while full of expected flourishes, has an infectious groove to its heart.
Opening track Elevate rocks you to the very core with its Audioslave-like stylings, complete with Kotzen’s superb vocals huskily drawing you into its anthemic commercial chorus. It’s a superb start to this album and a marker to say that this ain’t some random jamming in the studio between three mates. It gives a chance for each of them to shine and show their individuality without diverging from the tremendous groove and feel.
This statement of intent is carried throughout the whole album with its great big chunking rock groove running from start to finish. One thing is sure and certain from this album and that’s the amount of fun it sounds like they’ve had pulling it together. You find yourself pulled into some funky 70’s styled rhythms with the likes of Desire and We Are One (a track that sounds like it’s come straight from a 70’s cop show) while sitting back and just admiring the musical talent on display. You get some beautifully tempered rock ballads with I’m No Angel, You Saved Me and The Dying in particular, but they can and do also kick it up a good few notches with The Other Side a perfect example as it drives on from Sheehan’s thumping bass line. What more can I say already about this album that you didn’t expect from such a collaboration?
Well, another thing very prevalent in this album is the reckless abandon that these guys seems to be able to through out killer anthemic sing-a-long choruses. Granted, it should be no more than we would expect from guys of this ability, but it’s still pretty damn amazing that they can pull these out song after song on this album.
Not Hopeless I have to say is probably my favourite track on the album, a great dirty rock track that has another superb driving groove that brings to mind cruising on open highways and wild sunsets (or what I imagine it would be). It also has probably the best breakdown on the album as Sheehan is let loose before being joined by Kotzen and Portnoy in a style reminiscent of Dream Theater.
OK, I’ve been ticking off the tracks one by one on this review, but to be honest I’m going to say no more in the hope that by now you get an idea of what to expect from The Winery Dogs. It’s three ridiculously talented musicians that can write a tune or two! As I’ve said, it’s an album that they sound like they had a lot of fun writing and creating. It’s also an album that gives all three of them a chance to showcase their talents to their fullest extent.
The conclusion of the album is almost like a chance to catch your breath, with its easy rock swing reminiscent of the kind of thing you would hear The Eagles produce. The build up to its closing crescendo suitably fitting for such an album to finish on. Good stuff indeed.
The Winery Dogs self-titled debut album will be released on 2nd September through Loud & Proud Records
3. We Are One
4. I’m No Angel
5. The Other Side
6. You Saved Me
7. Not Hopeless
8. One More Time
10. Six Feet Deeper
11. Time Machine
12. The Dying
The Winery Dogs are:
Richie Kotzen – Guitar/Vocals
Billy Sheehan – Bass/Vocals
Mike Portnoy – Drums/Vocals