The Sheepdogs - Changing Colours

The Sheepdog's Changing Colours

The Sheepdogs
Changing Colours
feel-good music
It’s an upbeat, feel-good rock-and-roll album with a folksy twang sprinkled in.
- Holden Adams

The Sheepdogs are a genre-bending rock-and-roll band hailing from Saskatoon (Canada, eh?) The band originally formed in 2006, when members Ewan Currie, Ryan Gullen, and Sam Corbett were attending the University of Saskatoon. Since their inception twelve years ago, the group has released two EPs and six studio albums. Members have come and gone, but the Sheepdogs remain, steadfast and true to their unique brand of rock-and-roll. The Sheepdogs now consist of five members, including the three original members mentioned, along with recent additions Jimmy Bowskill and Ewan’s brother Shamus Currie.

Ewan Currie, the band’s frontman, has been credited with saying that the band plays “pure, simple, good-time music.” This is exactly what the group delivers on their sixth studio album Changing Colours, released on February 2nd. The album begins with the upbeat tune “Nobody,” proclaiming to all who listen that “Nobody is going to bring me down! Nobody is going to turn me ‘round!” On the intro track, listeners also get a taste of The Sheepdogs’ influence that is drawn from The Allman Brothers, with a few of the “guitarmonies” (guitar harmonies) very closely resembling (almost on the verge of copyright infringement) the guitar riffs from The Allman Brothers track “Jessica.” The Sheepdogs’ feel-good guitar riffs continue through the following two tracks, entitled “I’ve Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be” and “Saturday Night.” The feel-good vibe continues on in one of my favourites off Changing Colours, called “Let it Roll,” a track with a bit of a folk/country twang, compliments of a steel guitar. This track being a favourite of mine took me by surprise in a way, because I normally cannot stand country music, but I enjoy the laid-back feel on this track. Listen to the track below, as performed by The Sheepdogs live in Ewan Currie’s backyard.

At times while listening Changing Colours, I got an unsettling sense of the unoriginality of particular sections of music. This was the case during parts of the intro track which I alluded to earlier, as well as on a couple of other tracks, in which I felt aspects of The Sheepdogs’ music too closely resembled songs I had heard before. The first time I listened to Changing Colours, I remember thinking “this one [“Cherries Jubilee”] sounds kind of like “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield,” or “this one [“The Big Nowhere”] sounds like a Marvin Gaye joint.” In either case, The Sheepdogs could have been making use of these artists’ music by sampling, the likes of which I’m just not accustomed to outside of hip-hop music. Either way I found it, at best, an odd use of samples; at worst, copyright infringement.

Overall, I found Changing Colours to be a good listen despite my feelings about its lack of originality at times. It’s an upbeat, feel-good rock-and-roll album with a folksy twang sprinkled in. Changing Colours is definitely worth a few spins by listeners who dig an old school rock vibe and enjoy having a good time. It’s an album that movies like Dazed and Confused could be set to. Listen to Changing Colours by The Sheepdogs below.