After touring with Kings of Leon and landing the cover of Rolling Stone (the first and only unsigned band in history to do so), The Sheepdogs can proudly say that they have come a long way from their humble beginnings in small town Saskatoon, Canada.
The band has already gained much success in their native country. In the past year, the band has won three 2012 Juno Awards (New Group of the Year, Single of the Year, and Rock Album of the Year), which are Canada’s version of the Grammy awards.
To say that The Sheepdogs are rock ‘n’ roll is no overstatement. The long hair, their southern rocker attire, and wild child headbands worn by band members Ewan Currie (vocals and guitar), Leot Hanson (guitar), Ryan Gullen (bass), and Sam Corbett (drums) exude pure rock ‘n’ roll style and complement their rootsy-rock sound. Their songs utilize a mix of southern rock, blues, and psychedelic harmonies that make the band sound as if they recorded this album in the 1970s.
On Thursday, Sept. 20, these Canadian rockers will be showcasing their distinctive rock ‘n’ roll sounds at Johnny Brenda’s, located in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Tickets are still available, although you must be 21 to enter. Johnny Brenda’s is the perfect stage for The Sheepdogs to introduce their music to Philadelphia. It has the intimate feel of a small club that lets patrons stand within just a few feet of the band. If the dance floor is too crowded, and you get there early enough, you can lean over the second floor balcony and look down on the band just 10 to 15 feet away.
The band produces sounds that are similar to “the Allman Brothers and the Guess Who,” Currie told Rolling Stone. Although The Sheepdogs draw from rock ‘n’ roll legends for inspiration, when writing their songs, they still effectively put their own modern spin on their music, which is why their sounds are so authentic.
The Sheepdogs convey a distinct sound that separates them from the pre-packaged, auto-tune-obsessed musicians that have seemed to flood the music industry within the past few years. The band is unquestionably sparking attention among the music industry and has already played at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and SXSW.
All of the ’70s rockers at heart that truly live for this kind of music (and of course are 21 and over) have no reason to think twice about seeing The Sheepdogs live this Thursday.
Since Johnny Brenda’s is a smaller venue, some lucky members of the crowd may even get a chance to meet the band. Who knows, they may be able to impress their friends in five years by saying they met The Sheepdogs.
Currie tells fans on their website (thesheepdogs.com), “We want to make killer albums that people really want to listen to, but we also want to have a really reputable live show. When we come through town we want to be the hottest ticket there.”
There is something to be said about a band that makes music for the sole purpose of putting on an amazing live performance. The Sheepdogs certainly do not seem concerned with making it big for the sake of money or fame.
As far as the meaning behind their name, the band told Canadian newspaper, The Observer, that there really is no intricate story behind the naming of the band. Gullen explained to the newspaper, “We originally called ourselves The Breaks but found out about 10 other bands had that name. We couldn’t decide. It was painstaking, so we just took a name that Leot used on his MySpace site.”
Since gaining such success in Canada, the group has signed with Atlantic Records. The band’s new album was produced by Pat Carney, drummer for the Black Keys.
There is no telling where The Sheepdogs will be in the years to come. They are bringing in a new sound to American clubs and radios. With bluesy lyrics and old-school rock ‘n’ roll riffs, the band will continue to draw fans, as long as they stay true to their musical roots.
Tickets for their show in Philadelphia can only be purchased from johnnybrendas.com and are just $18. The doors open at 8 p.m. and The Sheepdogs go on at 9:15 p.m.
Eryn Aiello is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at EA694104@wcupa.edu.