The image of the modern rock and roll revival came sweeping through Nashville this past week, and it came in the form of the Canadian powerhouse that is The Sheepdogs. The rollicking travelin’ band recently put out their newest album, Outta Sight, this past summer, and have been hitting the paint hard in support of it since.
Entering the Basement East on a rainy Tuesday night, there was an audible excitement in the air with the crowd as cold beverages were in hand and an eagerness to get down permeated.
The Sheepdogs were supported by Boy Golden, a swinging 6-piece band with an uncanny togetherness and unique sound. They had the crowd swinging and toe-tapping to their groovy honky-tonk mixture that featured impressive harmonies, catchy guitar leads, and the musical versatility of every member of the band.
After Boy Golden had the audience warmed up and feeling like it was Friday night, The Sheepdogs soon took the stage, and wasted minimal time before igniting their intense rock and roll energy. Within the first minute of the opening tune, the vocal power and quality of lead singer Ewan Currie was most evident, as his tremolos floated effortlessly atop every note.
Over the next couple of songs, the crowd was fist-pumping and swaying with every guitar strum as the guitarists of the group made their epic solos seem as natural and innate as breathing. The group played some fan favorites like “I’ve Got A Hole Where My Heart Should Be,” and “Rock and Roll,” to open the set, and cemented the tone for the gritty and rhythmic musical journey they were about to take the crowd on.
The band played a collection of songs that ranged from bluesy back-alley anthems to upbeat and heavy-hitting songs that radiated the energy of the nostalgic classic rock-and-roll era. A personal favorite of mine, “Who?,” demonstrated the impeccable sync the band members had with each other, and featured an epic guitar solo and a catchy chorus that stayed in my brain for days following the show.
Throughout the performance, each band member got their moment in the spotlight as they all demonstrated their honed skills on their respective instrument, as well as switching around to play different instruments. A favorite moment was during one of the songs where three different guitar leads worked off one another, as if in seamless conversation that left the audience awestruck and clamoring for more rock and roll magic.
Their collection of slower songs like, “Jessie, Please,” and “Are You A Good Man,” were reminiscent to the works of Van Morrison, as they featured driving bass-lines and crooning guitar solos that scratched an internal musical itch in all its listeners. These ballads were complimented perfectly by their more upbeat and bright pieces like, “Southern Dreaming” and “Keep On Loving You,” which included nostalgic lyricism about loving and living on the road.
Comprised of Ewan Currie (vocals, guitar), Ricky Paquette (guitar), Ryan Gullen (bass), Sam Corbett (drums), and Shamus Currie (brass and keys), the group is an absolute powerhouse of impressive harmonies and musical excellence, displaying this at The Basement East and throughout their big ol’ tour.
As the first unsigned group to score the cover of Rolling Stone, the badass rockers have accumulated an extensive fan base, and have slayed venues and festivals all over North America, earning them the rightful moniker as one of the best live vintage classic rock and roll acts around today.