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The Sheepdogs herd their influencs

Thunder Road, Somerville, Mass., May 1, 2016

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The Sheepdogs may not be the most original band going, but with their influences clearly evident, at least you could easily argue that the band makes for a night of good music.

Hailing from Saskatoon, Canada, The Sheepdogs have made more of a name for themselves in their native Canada where they won 3 Juno awards, the equivalent of a Grammy, in 2012 for their self-titled disc.

The Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers Band were the overt and obvious linchpins for The Sheepdogs, and the band wears both quite comfortably. "Wanna Be Your Man" had a Stonesy feel, big sounding both musically and vocally. "Southern Dreaming" employed a guitar attack that recalled the Allmans. The Sheepdogs even combined the two distinct sounds on "Plastic Man."

Lead singer Ewan Currie took command of the material with his voice almost easily above the sonics. Currie wasn't the most dynamic personality on stage - he didn't engage the crowd all that much, keeping a bit of a distance - but certainly knew his way about putting forth the material.

And most of it came from last fall's "Future Nostalgia." The roots sound also was employed on "Same Old Feeling" with a bit of a New Orleans thing going on. "Help Us All" went for the blues with Currie's brother, Shamus, changing it up radically on trombone. There were just enough divergences from the tried-and-true to make The Sheepdogs worthwhile.

When The Sheepdogs returned to the stage after their 80-minute regular for their one-song encore, who did they turn to? The Allmans, of course, for a rousing, fairly faithful version of "Whipping Post," with Shamus Currie shining on keyboards. He was a presence throughout the show. Overtly acknowledging the Allmans proves to be a fitting ending. The Sheepdogs may not be trailblazing, but they do what they are capable of doing quite well.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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