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The Winery Dogs-Album Cover


The Winery Dogs


The Winery Dogs


Loud & Proud Records


Rating: 11 out of 10


Release Date: 7/23/13

Yes, you did read that right, 11 out of 10, we broke the scale on this one!  The word triumvirate is often defined as a “rule of three”, in this case it’s “three that rule”.  Guitarist and vocalist Ritchie Kotzen (Mr. Big/Poison), bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), and drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater/Avenged Sevenfold) have long been considered three of the finest at their respective crafts, so it’s no surprise that when their talents collide we are left with nothing less than an Album of the Year contender.

From the opening riff of “Elevate”, you realize that this is going to be one of those albums where one can’t help but “feel” the music.  A blues rooted rocker with a hint of Nugent-meets-Wolfmother, this opening track is just a pre-cursor of what’s to come.  From “Desire” to “The Other Side” to “Regret”, the entire album is riddled with screaming, yet soulful guitar, pulse-pounding drums, killer vocals,  and bass lines that would make Geddy Lee blush!

With such a great collection of musical genius, it’s hard to pick a favorite.  There are, however, some highlights that cannot go unmentioned.  One such highlight is “The Other Side”, which begins with Portnoy’s drums launching into a finger bleeding bass line from Sheehan, climaxing with Kotzen’s guitar solo, at which point he releases inner Eddie Van Halen.  

Kotzen then takes that same style and melds it into “One More Time”.  Yet another reminder that these guys are a force to be reckoned with, this track bears hints of Eric Johnson meets Van Halen’s “Eruption”. On the track “Six Feet Deeper” Portnoy’s drumming channels the spirit of the late, great, John Bonham. “Damaged” and “Not Hopeless” are two more favorites of mine that highlight just how much Kotzen’s voice sounds like that of one of rock’s greatest voices, Chris Cornell.

Perhaps the coolest song on the album is “Time Machine”.  This track has a conceptual feel to it, in that it begins sounding very much like a modern day Alice In Chains tune, and transforms as we travel time, into some good old fashioned 80’s guitar power rock!  Last, but certainly not least, the album culminates with “Regret”; a true blues based rock track that summons the air guitar and serves as a reminder that “blues gave birth to rock ‘n roll”, making our only regret not pressing the “Repeat All” button.

Every album has one or two band members on it that truly stand out, but The Winery Dogs smash that theory to pieces with their debut album.  If you love blues-based power rock, July 23rd should be like Christmas morning for audiophiles everywhere.  Hands down, the best album of 2013!!!

What are you waiting for??? Click here to pre-order The Winery Dogs debut album, and find out when they’ll be coming to your town to blow your mind in person!

Friday, August 18, 2012
Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD

Review by Marcy J Royce

If anyone tries to convince you that 80’s rock is dead, I highly suggest you send them to go see CINDERELLA perform live. PERIOD! Once they see them, hear them, and feel the 80’s vibe with them… all doubts will disappear.

Jeff LaBar and Tom Keifer of Cinderella

I grew up a musical child of the 80’s, I truly loved the time of the hair bands. Back in the pure days of MTV it seems that most of the bands were basically split between their musical talent and their stage looks.  CINDERELLA was one of those bands that seems to have fallen victim to the Aqua Net hair, eyeliner eyes, skin tight spandex, and lipstick. However, they were among the few that had that raw talent that would lie deep within them.  For CINDERELLA today, those 80’s looks have faded but their music has not. That’s because the strong foundation they built with their music has stood that test of time to this day.

Back in the full throws of the 80’s golden days, CINDERELLA was one of my go-to bands to play on the cassette player. (not sure some of you will remember much of that, ha ha). Sure, I was one of those gals who swooned at most of the heavily made up, yet so sexy men of the bands of that time. Now that I’ve matured musically I can look back objectively and see those bands for what they were really worth musically. CINDERELLA has made my list as one of the talent survivors. Tom Keifer is a very talented singer/songwriter that makes the band thrive. He seems to continue to be a great driving force behind the success of the band today. While I look to each member separately and what they each bring to the table, Tom is the spearhead in which will continue to bring the masses to see the band perform today. He commands the stage with the best of the best in respect to frontmen. He may not move around like he did in the 80’s on stage. But the strength of his presentation has not waned.

August 2 of 2011, CINDERELLA performed at Rams Head Live. It was the first time I had seen them in a very long time and it was only shortly before that performance that the band had begun to do shows again because Keifer was off for an extended amount of time recovering from vocal cord issues. Fast forward a year and here we are again, August 17, 2012 at Rams Head Live for another highly anticipated show. I approached the night like any other. Full of excitement and energy. The set was basically the same as the year before. No surprises there because they seem to ft on all the familiar hits the fans crave. I miss hearing “Push Push” and “Fallin’ Apart At The Seams“, two of my many favs from the foursome. But yet the 13 songs they did performed the fans thorough approved of by the roars of approval and the hands in the air.

The setlist was this: Once Around The Ride, Shake Me, Heartbreak, Somebody Save Me, Night Songs, The More Things Change (see my video below), Coming Home (also see my video below), Second Wind, Don’t Know What You Got, Nobody’s Fool, Gypsy Road, and the encore of Long Cold Winter and Shelter Me.

To me the set should have been at least two songs longer. However, I found out why the last three songs as to the reason. It was very disheartening to me to hear the struggle develop for Tom’s voice. I felt bad for him, he was trying really hard. And after what his been through previous years with his vocal cord issues I couldn’t help wanting to end quickly for him. But besides that issue the band sounded strong and solid. I did find Jeff LaBar was bursting with more energy than when I had seen him last. It was quite invigorating since I have heard he had some physical issues last year. Not any more! That man was all about the stage and hopping and spinning around. I also had my eyes on Fred Coury. I’m drawn to drummers and I always lose myself watching them perform. And last but not least I always dissect Eric. Bassists follow close behind the drummers for me as to whom I follow. The night always belongs to Tom, however. He’s a frontman that is so strong that the crowd is drawn by the magnetism. Plus the ladies still have the eyes for him. Even the cute 14 year old in the front row whom Tom made sure to personally bend down and had his pick to. I spoke with her later and she was ecstatic. Rightfully so. I was the same way last year when he told me I had a good eye when I asked him to sign two photos of mine in Atlantic City. Talk about a tough one to balance professionalism with fan girl. Whew! So Katie, congrats on the pick, signed setlist, hug and photos. I share your excitement.

The encore this night I especially loved. I turned to my husband during “Long Cold Winter” and exclaimed THIS was the perfect way to make rock bluesy. I was enjoying every chord, every note.  Then it ended perfectly with “Shelter Me“, on of my top tunes from CINDERELLA. Add Tom playing sax and I was like butter.

I would say this 2012 25th Anniversary would be classified as a success. CINDERELLA delivered the goods like only a few from the 80’s can. The fans were happy. And so was this photographer/journalist.

For all things CINDERELLA including tour dates, tickets, media, merchandise, and bios, visit http://www.cinderella.net

An enormous shout out to my gal, Sky Nicholas of UEG Inc., who is always the consummate professional and so very good to me. Thanks Sky, you’re top notch in my book!