[Editor’s note: This review was originally published on April 15th, 2018 for BuriedOnMars.com.]
The Sheepdogs have been a group that I have respected and enjoyed for some time but never REALLY got into. That all changed after my first sampling of their latest album, Changing Colours. I loved its late 60’s/70’s boogie rock vibe and made my way to grab a copy as soon as I could. The album clocks in at almost 50 minutes with a whopping 17 tracks! A few are short instrumentals to showcase some of the band’s mad handling of their instruments, including new lead guitarist Jimmy Bowskill. Bowskill has floated around the Canadian Blues scene for almost a decade now and he is a tremendous get for The Sheepdogs.
Ewan Currie is still the band’s centerpiece. The lead singer/guitarist handles the writing of the main track, while Bowskill co-wrote the short instrumentals. They work to bridge the songs together; some are bluesy, some are bluegrassy, but it is all great rock ‘n roll.
The driving boogie rock of Nobody kicks off the album with Ewan’s lyrics about a young person’s determination. Ewan and Bowskill’s double guitar work and slide are akin to The Allman Bros Band. Check out the video and its nod to a classic scene from The Blues Brothers:
I’ve Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be is the album’s first single (A least here in Canada), is another highlight. It has a solid 70’s riff-rock groove with some excellent work by Shamus Currie on the Hammond organ.
I hear a lot of Santana on this album too, especially on songs like Cool Down and The Big Nowhere. I absolutely dig the bluesy lyrics with a Latin beat like the:
You’ve got to remember
or you’re bound to lose
Tell me that doesn’t fit on a Santana album.
Cool Down plays into Kiss the Brass Ring (they are really one song) and it is downright gorgeous:
My man-crush for Jimmy Bowskill hasn’t gone too far until I start wearing flowered shirts with a cowboy hat.
I’m Just Waiting for My Time gets a little psychedelic with an opening that reminds me of some early Moody Blues and Born a Restless Man / The Balieboro Turnaround is straight-up bluegrass with harmonizing vocals and Bowskill on the banjo. I’ve been humming this one around the house a lot lately.
There is so much more to mention on Changing Colours as it is a pure joy to listen to all the way through. This is retro ’70s rock with influences from all the good stuff you remember and you will hear more with every listen. The Sheepdogs do have their own sound though, and it is a wonderful spice they add to every song.
An easy: 5/5