The Sheepdogs

Origin: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Genres: boogie rock, Rock, Southern Rock

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The Sheepdogs are a Canadian rock and roll band formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 2006. The group consists of lead singer and guitarist Ewan Currie, bass guitarist Ryan Gullen, drummer Sam Corbett, guitarist Rusty Matyas, and Shamus Currie, brother of lead singer Ewan Currie, playing trombone, keyboards, and tambourine. The Sheepdogs became the first unsigned band to make the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in 2011 and have since grown to popularity in Canada and the United States.

Frontman Ewan Currie describes the band’s retro, guitar driven blues-rock style as “pure, simple, good-time music,” their distinctive sound has been called the “Guitar-mony” because of the use of harmonies in guitar solos and vocals. The Sheepdogs consider their style to be somewhere between the riff heavy bombast of Led Zeppelin and the melodies and harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

After years of road dog touring, things were looking rough for The Sheepdogs in 2011. The band had hit a dead end, traveling hours by road from the isolation of Saskatoon to small gigs in Calgary or Toronto in their 1995 Dodge 3500 touring van. It was taking its toll on the group’s moral. The band was in debt, having just returned from an expensive trip to Los Angeles to play for a dead crowd of industrial workers that they had been told would be a big break. Things were about to change though, as an agent that the band had met in Toronto had submitted a demo tape to Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Choose The Cover” competition. The Sheepdogs beat 15 other bands to get the contest win and were featured on the August 18, 2011 cover of Rolling Stone magazine, the first unsigned act to do so. During the competition, the band made appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival and The Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Quebec.

The band’s third studio album, Learn & Burn was initially released in 2010, then re-released in 2011 following the Rolling Stone win. The album peaked at #14 on the Canadian Albums Chart. On April 1, 2012, The Sheepdogs won three Juno Awards, Rock Album of the Year, Best New Group and Single of the Year. On February 5, 2013, the album was certified Platinum in Canada.

Following their win, the band signed with Atlantic Records with a new album being produced by The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney in Nashville.

In 2013, CBC Music flew the band to Memphis, TN to record at the iconic Sun Studio. The sessions included covers of three Elvis Presley songs which were originally recorded by Presley at the studio: “That’s All Right,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and “Hound Dog.” The session also included the band’s own songs “Javelina!” from their self-titled album and “Hang On To Yourself” from their first album “Trying To Grow.” The band also visited Elvis’s home at Graceland, Beale Street, and the popular Memphis restaurant Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken where they recorded intros for each of the songs.

The band’s fifth album, Future Nostalgia, was released October 2, 2015 from the independent label Dine Alone. Recorded in a rented cottage in Stony Lake, Ontario, and produced by lead singer and songwriter Ewan Currie, he explained the choice, saying: “We wanted to cut out all the noise and get back to a place where we could just fully immerse ourselves in music.” The band wanted to find some middle ground between the informal garage sound of the platinum-certified Learn & Burn and the whirlwind sessions in Nashville with Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney.