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Winery Dogs, The: The Winery Dogs

PHEW!!! There is nothing better than picking up a new record that you had high expectations for and then NOT being disappointed with it one bit! This is the case for the debut (should I say Supergroup?!) record by The Winery Dogs, the new band that features the uber talents of drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), the legendary Bass exploits of the one and only Billy Sheehan (Talas, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Steve Vai) and the easily most under appreciated, most underrated, most unknown MEGA 3 Tool talent (Guitar phenom, Vocal extraordinaire, Songwriting virtuoso) on the planet, Mr. Richie Kotzen (Solo Artist, Poison, Mr. Big)! Their self titled record is a true tour de force, with each song being better than the next. When was the last time that you bought a record and didn't take it out of your rotation of the car and house for weeks at a time?!!

The Winery Dogs is a superb slice of Bluesy edged Hard Rock mixed with STELLAR, raspy throated, soul dripping vocals, with virtuoso guitar, bass and drums all wrapped up in excellently crafted songs. The playing does NOT overshadow the song and it IS all about the song first with The Winery Dogs. The Winery Dogs debut record is a 13 song piece of brilliance. Ranging from straight ahead Hard Rock to thoughtful and pleading soul searchers and a little bit of in between, these guys delivery the goods with this debut.

From their lead single, "Elevate", that Mr. Big vibe is there in spades and Sheehan and Kotzen give us all another taste of what they can do together in harmony. Spurred with a really catchy chorus, "Elevate" easily gets stuck in your head and is also a great way to start off their album. "Desire" is the next track up and it keeps the pace and feel going, but it's the 4th track, "I'm No Angel" that proves to be "THE" track (well, at least for me!). Long time Kotzen fans will not be surprised by this composition. Kotzen lets the world hear a side of him that most people have never heard from him. His NO guitar pick playing is the catalyst for the tone of the Telecaster twang that he coaxes out of his guitar, but then Kotzen opens his mouth to sing….and it's over! That golden rasp that is his voice! The pure Philly Soul and emotion that emotes from this man's being is simply magic. "I'm No Angel" is complete with another get stuck in your head chorus that is sure to get stuck there for days to come.

This debut is truly a deep record and there was an obvious attempt to include a wide range of material on this record. There are songs that are completely new territory for some of the members and the songs are very genuine. Tunes like "You Saved Me" and "Damaged" have an almost Adult Contemporary feel to them but they make them work, while songs like "Time Machine" has an almost Led Zep/Kashmir type of vibe and "The Dying" has a dark, brooding and smokey feel that opens up to a majestic head and then back again, beautiful and painful at the same time. There is a little bit of everything on this album, much like a classic '70's disc has. There is real substance in these songs that you will carry with you for a long time.

There has been much written about the individual talents of Portnoy, Sheehan and Kotzen but as a combined whole, this trio has hit a home run with this record. The Winery Dogs is everything that I could have expected. Being a longtime Richie Kotzen fan, this is not far removed from what he provides in his solo career. A bit of Rock, R&B and Soul and when you add a rhythm section of that of Sheehan and Portnoy, the heavy factor will be added and this is what you receive in The Winery Dogs. This is pretty much a perfect record with exceptional songwriting and equally exceptional musical performances by 3 of the best musicians in the Rock world. How could this record miss? It's easy, it doesn't!

Track Listing

  1. Elevate
  2. Desire
  3. We Are One
  4. I'm No Angel
  5. The Other Side
  6. You Saved Me
  7. Not Hopeless
  8. One More Time
  9. Damaged
  10. Six Feet Under
  11. Time Machine
  12. The Dying
  13. Regret

Added: August 5th 2013
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 3213
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Winery Dogs, The: The Winery Dogs
Posted by Jind on 2013-08-06 09:23:16
My Score:

Great review.

As a longtime fan of Richie's solo material, it's nice to see his incredible talent finally being recognized outside his dedicated fan base. It's always baffled me that he is not more recognized for the true triple threat talent that brings as a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. Very few other artists bring as much talent to the table as he does or with the consistency he regularly displays throughout his deep solo career, and the other projects/bands he's been involved with.

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