The Sheepdogs

Drinks with Sheepdogs at The Dakota Tavern

As Saskatoon's The Sheepdogs descended down the steps of the Dakota Tavern and sauntered their way over to my bar stool, it was obvious that I was about to speak to a band mid-tour.

I shook hands with the members, who were all dressed in 70's folk-rock attire, and I moved to the back of the bar to chat with Ewan Currie (lead vocals, guitar) and Ryan Gullen (bass, backing vocals), while the rest of the band did a sound check.

While The Sheepdogs have only been a band for a few years they have managed to play what seems to be an exhausting amount of shows. Ewan says that almost since their conception the band has been on the road, stopping only when necessary.

"It's hard, because of money, but we just try and tour as much as we can. I think this is our seventh tour? No, maybe more now. Our first tour was less than ten shows, then our next tour was five weeks, and now we're at a point where it's solid, day after day... which is good."

Their current tour is to promote their latest album, which is set to be released before 2009. Ryan says that it is the first album where they haven't felt pressured in the studio.

"It's the first album we haven't felt rushed to make. I think our last album was recorded in about a two week span. We took a week off between two tours - one out East and one out West - and then we did a bit of recording when we came back. For this album, we really wanted to take our time and let the songs flush out a little more. Kind of be more creative. It's nice to come back to a song two or three weeks later and add an organ or something. It was nice not to be on the clock with it."

Despite having booked national tour, The Sheepdogs have also grabbed a one month residency at the Dakota Tavern, which is typically a good spot for quality music. Ryan spoke about how they had landed the gig.

"We've played here a couple times now. We originally played here with our friends the Deep Dark Woods. And we were coming out here anyway, so we looked into trying to get a multiple day gig to help us break into the Toronto scene."

Although it seems like it may have been hard to tour around the commitment, Ryan claims that Wednesday is generally a "harder day to book shows anyway," so it wasn't really an issue for the band.

These guys seem like they are the type to make it work no matter what. The word is that they have played over 100 shows in 2009. Ryan tells me that I'm probably wrong.

"It's likely more than that. That information was taken a couple months ago. We tour lots. We'd like to tour more, but it's just tough sometimes. It's always been the way we've focused our music - practice lots and play shitloads of shows."

The Sheepdogs will be playing their own style of classic folk-rock on Wednesday, October 7th, at the Dakota Tavern. And then continue westward for more shows.

Photography by Shannon Heather.

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