Friday November 21, 2014

Retro release

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The Sheepdogs

I first became aware of The Sheepdogs way back in 2007 when I reviewed Trying to Grow, a CD I gave a 7-out-of-10.

From the rating on Learn & Burn you can see I see growth in the band, although some aspects of their music remains retro.

Back in 2007 I suggested The Sheepdogs were something of a throwback band, with their overall sound reminding of the Guess Who.

This time around there might be a bit more of The Stampeders, or even of the Eagles, but The Sheepdogs still seem like a band which has teleported from the seventies.

There are two good things about that statement.

As a reviewer who was a teenager through the years The Stampeders, Eagles and Guess Who were hot, hot, hot, the music here is nostalgic in nature. It conjures memories of a time before Internet, before career, before bills. To relax with thoughts of those times is really a rare gift.

In more general terms to draw on elements of rock from an era now 30-plus years in the past gives the music of The Sheepdogs a freshness in that is different from much of the music being produced out there these days.

The flashes of psychedelica on a song such as Right On are plain fantastic.

Lead singer Ewan Currie has matured into a seasoned lead voice for the band born in Saskatoon -- It’s another plus these guys come from our province.

Currie is joined by Leot Hanson, Ryan Gullen and Sam Corbett to round out this great band.

The disk, recorded in Saskatoon at The Sweatbox is garnering praise from the industry, and deservedly so. Learn & Burnnominee at this year’s Western Canadian Music Awards; one of seven finalists for Rock Recording of the Year.

In terms of current rock disks this one really touches a broad range. Old rockers will like the throwback approach -- Southern Dreaming -- is amazing for that, and younger fans will think the sound fresh.

The bottom line if you like rock you want this CD.

Check it out at

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Gord Bamford
Royalty Records

Gord Bamford grew up on a farm near Lacombe, Alta. Guess what folks, those roots show through in the music.

Sure a song like Cheap Date has a radio spot in mind in its make-up, but there is also an element of legitimacy in the music which comes from believing in the sound.

Bamford comes across as a country singer from the inside out.

An old time hurtin’ but livin’ with it song such as Put Some Alcohol On It sounds better because Bamford comes across as if he feels the music. In this case the song also has a bit of a retro-Waylon, or Hank Jr. to it as well.

Kids is a cut almost guaranteed to make Moms and Grandma’s cry at times, and Dad’s and Grandpa’s may end up fibbing that they got some dust in their eyes to hide the reason they too are near tears. Bamford did not write Kids, but he makes it his own, and it is the best song here.

Overall Bamford has a bit more of a traditional country sound, and that is just fine by me.

Sure there are driving down a dirt road cuts like Rowdy Boys and She Can Bring It that you know Bamford hopes will be radio friendly, but he generally seems happiest to just get the music on disk and let the world decide from there.

This is a fine country effort and it’s easy to understand why Bamford’s latest is among this year’s Western Canadian Music Awards finalists for Country Recording of the Year.

Country fans will like this Canadian effort. Check it out at
Past reviews are archived online at



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