(Loud & Proud Records)
Review By Woody
The Winery Dogs are another seventies classic rock influenced super group, following in the footsteps of Chickenfoot and Black Country Communion, featuring Richie Kotzen (Mr Big / Posion) on vocals and Guitar, Billy Sheehan (Mr Big / David Lee Roth) on Bass and popular Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy. This is definitely one for classic rock lovers and fans of the other super groups I have just mentioned. Musically this album comes straight out of the Led Zeppelin School of rock but with more emphasis on melody on many of the choruses. It seems lazy to compare these guys to Mr Big especially given Kotzen and Sheehan’s connection to them, but the comparison is undeniable.
Kotzen’s vocals are very different to Eric Martin of course so it never feels like your listening to a copycat version of Mr Big. Kotzen’s soulful vocals sometimes put me in mind of Glenn Hughes; they are probably my favourite thing about the entire album. Often very emotive and it drives many of the songs onto another level, I’ve never really paid much attention to him in the past something I regret now. It’s no surprise given the star quality of the rhythm section that the bass lines and drums are very prominent in the mix. Never overpowering but they do give the songs some real bite, the funky bass lines also reminds me frequently of “Hey Man” era Mr Big.
I have to admit it’s the ballads that really stand out for me and whilst it may seem ballad heavy in theory it never feels like that when you’re listening to the album, I think it helps that when the album rocks it really rocks! Kotzen’s vocal style lends itself very easily to ballads giving them a rich beautiful emotional vibe like on “I’m No Angel”, “You Saved Me” and “Damaged”. All the rockers have a great groove and cocky swagger to them and the overtly melodic chorus on album opener “Elevate” makes it strongly appeal to those of us of an extreme melodic persuasion.
I do feel the album would have been better if they had cut a few tracks from the end of the album, which feels like a bit of filler to me. This one gripe aside I think it’s a very strong album overall and should keep fans of classic rock and in particular Mr Big very happy. So if groove laden hard rock with soulful vocals is your thing, it’s well worth giving the Winery Dogs a spin!
Track Listing: Elevate / Desire / We Are One / I’m No Angel / The Other Side / You Saved Me / Not Hopeless / One More Time / Damaged / Six Feet Deeper / Time Machine / The Dying / Regret
Album Rating: 8/10
Woody’s Essential Track: Not Hopeless
album reviews >