Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Album Review: The Winery Dogs, Hot Streak

I'm off the edge and now 
I'm somewhere in oblivion

I have to admit. The Winery Dogs debut album is one of my favorite new albums to date. I still listen to it a couple times a week. In fact, I've listened to it once since their sophomore album, Hot Streak was released. So, naturally, I was concerned. Could the band equal or surpass one of the greatest debut albums I've ever heard?  Well, the band produced the album themselves, which is fine because Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen are extremely capable in that aspect. Then, hearing the single for Oblivion certainly made me lean toward a yes answer to my question. Also, the album opened on Billboard at #5 in rock albums, #27 overall.

The band seemed to be firing on all cylinders on that badass song, so I was getting excited. October 2 rolled around, and I got my digital copy, and started jamming. Hot Streak is a little more on the musical diverse side than the debut, meaning the band has expanded their style. For example, the song, Captain Love has more of a straight forward groove, where the hooks are strummed rather than picked out. Its cool! In fact everything about The Winery Dogs is cool, but you already knew that. There are a couple great ballads like Fire. Think it Over has a nice soul groove that will make you feel good. 

The band continues their incredible fusion of rock, blues, jazz, and whatever else they wanted to put into it. They took chances, and it paid off. Why? Because as incredible as the debut was, nobody wanted a clone of the first album. For example, The Bridge and The Devil You Know have some heavier grooves than you might have expected, but its still trademark Winery Dogs. There are several songs that would have fit on the debut like Oblivion, and Spiral, which is a slower groove that has an incredible bass line. The Lamb has one of the coolest bass/guitar solos I've ever heard.

Another thing that is similar to the debut is that you can listen to it repeatedly, and still hear things you didn't catch previously. Whether its a subtle guitar run, bass run, drum fill, or vocal harmony. While Sheehan and Portnoy are virtuoso in their own right, Richie Kotzen is a guitar, vocal, and musical genius all his own. Its simply sensory overload on the awesomeness of the music and talent.

You need to see The Winery Dogs in concert!
Overall, Hot Streak is a more grown up album than the debut, which you would expect since they have had more time to gel and get to know each other musically. You can hear that flows a little better, and that's likely due to more collaboration among the band members. You can definitely say they 'upped the ante' on Hot Streak. I'm not going to say which album I like better because I can't. I'd say they are equal on the likability scale. Musically, Hot Streak has the edge because of the different directions they took on it. So, I asked earlier if they could they do it again. The answer is Hell Yeah. I'll probably be still jamming this one regularly when their third album comes out. The Winery Dogs music from BOTH albums makes you feel good, and while ridiculously talented, its still fun for the non musician to listen to. That's why they are one of the top rock acts out right now.

So, pick Hot Streak up! Its on Amazon, ITunes, Google Play, Best Buy, FYE, and wherever else you can get music!

And, make sure you see them in concert when they come your way.

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