RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

The Winery Dogs - The Winery Dogs
Loud and Proud Records
 
Rating: B+
 
The new supergroup The Winery Dogs consists of Richie Kotzen on guitar and vocals, Billy Sheehan on bass and Mike Portnoy on drums. At first glance, the obvious conclusion is that this is a technically brilliant band that will provide plenty of 'wow' factor to rock and roll musicians around the world. And, that would be correct, however, as the self-titled debut proves, this band is much more than a plethora of notes.
 
The Winery Dogs contain the best of both worlds. They are technically proficient musicians who are able to make complicated musical passages sound easy. They have the million mile an hour bass riffs from Sheehan and the cool ass guitar runs from Kotzen. Portnoy plays Neil Peart solos in his sleep. However, this album ain't just for tech heads. In addition to their technical brilliance, The Winery Dogs have created true songs that are hummable, toe-tap-able, fist pound-able and demand that they be listened to over and over.
 
A lot of the kudos goes to Kotzen, who is probably the least known of the bunch. He is able to take an almost Seattle sound, vocally, and mix it with classic sounding hard rock guitar. The result is a batch of tunes that balance the music nerd world with the average music fan world. "I'm No Angel" and "Elevate" show how this band can be great musicians and make great music. "Desire" mixes amazing vocals with a driving beat and some killer guitar work. In fact, all 13 tracks on the album are solid.
 
The Naysayer may state that this is yet another side project for Sheehan and Portnoy, but, unlike many of their other efforts, The Winery Dogs have crafted great songs on their debut. It is rare in this day and age of disposable music to have a band that makes a real album, one that sounds best when the songs are all played one after another; this is one of those albums.
 
Loud and Proud are dedicated to keeping real rock alive and well and providing music fans new music that stands up proudly against music made in the past. With Winery Dogs, they have done just that. This is a band that is making unique music that is technically brilliant and contains songs that are fun to listen too. This album gets better each time you listen to it.
 
Portnoy and Sheehan provide the backdrop and Kotzen is the secret weapon. Together they have created a band that goes down like a fine wine, despite being the rock dogs that they truly are!
 
Bottom line: Buy this one.
 
By Jeb Wright

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