My Summer Album: The Winery Dogs

If you are a music fan at all, you're familiar with the experience of falling in love with an album and listening to it over and over for a season.

That piece of tuneage is forever cemented with the sights, smells, and feelings of the time when the disc never left your car's CD player. Or never stopped playing on your iPod.

As my musical tastes have changed over the last few years, it had been awhile since I had fallen so in love with an album that I wanted to let it become a part of me.

Last summer, I started running, and pretty much only listened to Alter Bridge's ABIII. In my opinion, not their strongest album. But I was digging it at the time. Now when I hear those songs, I'm on the trail, soaking up the sun. I smell sunscreen and bug spray. Somehow the dark lyrics that dominate ABIII helped me through a somewhat rough time in my life. (I think there's only one song on that album that doesn't make me want to cut myself.)

BUT--summer 2014 is going to ROCK (spring already has!) and I have found my summer album. Well, actually, Mike found it.

The Winery Dogs' debut album was released last summer...and for some reason we didn't check it out then. Even after Eddie Trunk of That Metal Show raved about it.  I should know Eddie would never steer us wrong.

The Winery Dogs is a supergroup consisting of:
Richie Kotzen (he's played with Poison and Mr. Big, and released solo records) on vocals, guitar, and keybords.
Mike Portnoy (founding member of Dream Theater--and MANY other projects) on drums.
Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Steve Vai) on bass and backing vocals.

This album sounds comfortable and familiar, but completely fresh at the same time. Mix classic rock with grunge. Kotzen's voice reminds me of Chris Cornell's. The guitar is straight up rock--with some groove and bluesy tinges. And--something I am able to notice because I married a musician who is teaching me to appreciate new aspects of my favorite albums--the bass. So good.

If I could describe this album in one word: sexy. Yes, the italics were necessary. This album...makes love to you. 

The lyrical content focuses on addiction, relationships, hope, redemption, and regret.

Check out some of my favorites:

Elevate: Great, high energy song to open the album. I love the roller coaster start and stop of the riff in the verses...and that chorus that is catchy as hell:

Desire: Great sexy, dirty rocker. This is the second song on the album, so if "Elevate" didn't sell you on The Winery Dogs, this one certainly will:

The Other Side: Check out the bass in the first verse! This song is a good example of another thing I'm digging about The Winery Dogs' music: you're getting more moods/vibes in just ONE SONG  than some artists have on entire albums:

Six Feet Deeper: Another hard-driving rocker. Kotzen's vocal performance is badass on this one:

Time Machine: This song is so cool and unique. What I said above about The Other Side applies here as well. The guitar intro just stabs you---then pulls the knife out again. You get an Alice in Chains vibe with the verse-then a bridge with these great lyrics:

"I lift my spirit with the shit I swore I would let go
I tell myself that I ain't slippin' and it's under control
But I'm outta control."

Then back to the grunge vibe--followed by a soaring chorus you should expect by this point in the album.

If I still have to bring your attention to the killer bass, then you probably shouldn't be listening to rock 'n roll.

Regret: Great ballad. Excellent album closer. I feel like this piano driven track could actually work on pop radio. Again: sexy.

Please do me a favor and buy The Winery Dogs, listen to it during a nice, long drive. Windows down...and let me know what you think!