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Welcome to the self titled debut album from rock's newest 'supergroup', The Winery Dogs. It contains three of the most talented musicians you are likely to hear in any genre: Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy and, together, they have delivered an album of pure class from start to finish. We are dealing with a classic trio whose music is full to the brim with oodles of blues, jazz, funk and soul but, before you run away, most importantly it rocks, big time. Using the word 'supergroup' is never an easy thing these days because it's spouted so often, but it's very much justified in this case, even though I suspect the members will themselves tell you they just wanted to jam. This lot have absolutely plugged the gap left by Black Country Communion. In fact, if you mixed BCC with Mr Big, Cream and Lenny Kravitz, you would be close to what The Winery Dogs sound like; in other words, brilliant.

Just over 60 minutes in length, this album does not have one duff track or filler and it has such a deep groove that it's tough not to fall headlong into it. The opening trio of 'Elevate', 'Desire' and 'We Are One' is the best starts to an album I've heard for a while. Full of those thunderous trademark Sheehan bass runs which, of course, can be easily matched by Portnoy's drumming (on this release he displays an incredible amount of powerful swing, more like John Bonham or Gene Krupa than you would usually expect) and topped off with some stunning guitar work from Kotzen, who also proves he has a damn fine singing voice, a little like Chris Cornell in places. Don't think for one minute, though, that this album is another excuse for instrument wankery. Oh no, this is a proper band with proper songs, full of melody, variation in tempo and choruses so catchy you might need to wear a face mask to stop getting infected!

'Not Hopeless' is another fantastic song and it also left me open mouthed with the quality of Sheehan's playing; in fact, he puts a lot of lead guitarists to shame! The Winery Dogs aren't all about up-tempo rocking though. There is the slow and pounding 'Time Machine' which has an air of ‘Perfect Strangers’-era Deep Purple to it and the three quieter tracks - 'Damaged' (very Glenn Hughes) and the closing pair of 'The Dying' and 'Regret' - are very soulful and bring the album to a quieter, more refined ending but are no less satisfying than what has gone before. I know these three have played more gigs and released more albums than most of us have had hot dinners, but this is still a debut album and it's a brilliant achievement. This is far too good to be a one off so I really hope The Winery Dogs can stick around, release more material and give us something that BCC couldn't and that's a full on tour because I'll be there like a shot with bells on!
Loud & Proud Records
Review by Rick Tilley
2nd Sept 2013
1) Elevate; 2) Desire
3) We Are One
4) I'm No Angel
5) The Other Side
6) You Saved Me
7) Not Hopeless
8) One More Time
9) Damaged
10) Six Feet Deeper
11) Time Machine
12) The Dying; 13) Regret
"This lot have absolutely plugged the gap left by Black Country Communion."