Reviews & Spotlights

The Winery Dogs: III

In dog years it's been more than a half century since we last heard from The Winery Dogs - the ruff around the edges, hard pounding pack of pro players consisting of music icons RICHIE KOTZEN, BILLY SHEEHAN and MIKE PORTNOY. But, we can happily report that they have played dead long enough and are ready to return with III - their much anticipated follow-up to the group's critically acclaimed sophomore effort Hot Streak.

III is set for release on February 3, 2023 on the band's Three Dog Music label (via Burnside Distribution/The Orchard) and the album's ten tracks find the guys following in the footsteps of their first two albums with in-house production by The Winery Dogs and mixing from longtime band associate Jay Ruston.

The Winery Dogs have certainly carved out a niche over three records to emerge as a breed unto themselves - especially when viewed through the filter of their past musical experience. Kotzen on lead vocals and guitars once again stands out as the Alpha Dog completely unleashed to unload his dramatic and dynamic musical expression. He might have the bark and the bite, but, rest assured the world-class rhythm section he runs with are by no means muzzled in any way. It's just that in this configuration both Sheehan and Portnoy are more prone to loyally serve the song with smart accessorizing that comes from years of training on their respective instruments.

The Dogs really bare their teeth on the sizzling opener "Xanadu" that indicates that this will be another set of songs that smolder on the gritty side of the tracks once again exploring angst and anger filled themes of broken relationships gone bad. But, as Kotzen has explained in the past - he finds freedom in creating amorous fiction that usually has a happy ending by offering a path to resolution and redemption for his troubled protagonists who by no means bear any resemblance to himself. At least that's his story and he's sticking to it.

On the 50-plus minutes of III THE WINERY DOGS prove that they haven't lost a step when it comes to conjuring fresh hooks, gutbucket grooves and bold harmonies. They even stretch it out a bit on longer tracks like "Stars" and the anthemic "The Red Wine" that pours out just a bit of their proggy heritage with great taste.

With the release of III we can enthusiastically raise a glass to The Winery Dogs who continue to evolve and age just like a fine wine. Drop a needle, take a sip, roll it around your mouth for a bit and discover the abundant nodes and nuance of fermented musical excellence contained within the grooves of the record. There's not much more to say other than - once again they crushed it.

Related Links: For more information on THIS REVIEW please visit the following links - Review by Rockin' Rich Lynch | The Winery Dogs

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