The Winery Dogs’ Sophomore LP Is One Of 2015’s Top New Rock Albums

Courtesy:  Loud & Proud Records/Red Distribution

Courtesy: Loud & Proud Records/Red Distribution

When the rock super group The Winery Dogs released its self-titled debut record two years ago, few if any knew whether or not it would be the trio’s only release.  So when it was announced in 2014 that the band—Richi Kotzen (guitar, vocals), Billy Sheehan (bass), and Mike Portnoy (drums)—had started work on a second album excitement instantly built among both the band’s fans and fans of the band’s members.  Now with the release of that album—Hot Streak—earlier in October it can be said that it has definitely lived up to its expectations.  The thirteen-song record boasts elements of each of the artists’ own musical influences past and present; elements that combine to make it a record that is anything but the sophomore slump.  This is clear right from the album’s opener, the up-tempo rocker ‘Oblivion.’  Fans of Portnoy’s work with Liquid Tension Experiment will note the clear similarities to that band’s sound in regards to its musical content.  It is just as intriguing in terms of its lyrical content.  Both elements combined make ‘Oblivion’ a solid opener for Hot Streak and an equally solid re-introduction for the band, too.  ‘The Bridge,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another good example of how much Hot Streak has to offer fans.  In regards to its musical content, it is pure prog rock akin to material crafted by King’s X.  Speaking in terms of its lyrical content it is just as interesting.  It comes across in its verses as a commentary of sorts.  The chorus creates thoughts of a love song.  Regardless of whether it is one, the other, or possibly even neither, the fact that the lyrical content can spark such thought and discussion makes it all the more interesting of an addition to this record.  ‘Fire,’ the album’s mid-point as it were, is one more great addition to this record.  It is the polar opposite of all of the album’s other up-tempo rock songs.  This is the case at least in regards to its musical content.  Its lyrical content is another story.  Its lyrics present a deeply moving, introspective story that will impress listeners just as much as any of the album’s other, more upbeat compositions.  Whether for these songs or for any of the others not directly noted here, it can be said of all thirteen songs that together, they make Hot Streak a record that is plain and simple, one of the best of this year’s new rock albums.

The Winery Dogs’ sophomore album Hot Streak is a solid follow-up to its self-titled 2013 album.  It is also one of the best of this year’s new rock albums.  That is clear right from the album’s opener ‘Oblivion.’  This song is a great first impression for the band in its new album and an equally great re-introduction for the band, too.  Considering the song’s lyrical content one would think this would be a rather slow, moody song.  It proves to be anything but.  In fact those that are familiar with the music crafted by Liquid Tension Experiment will instantly find quite the striking similarity between the two bands here.  Interestingly enough, that sound is a good fit for this song in examining the song’s lyrical content.  The song’s lead verse reads, “It came to me in the middle of the darkest night/I don’t know if I was dreaming or I got too high/But my demons are closer/I’m flying blind/But my eyes are open wide/From the darkness to the light to the place I die/Wake me up when it’s over.”  This is quite the deep thought.  Taken into context with the song’s musical content, the two elements together paint an interesting picture.  It is a picture of someone in a difficult emotional/mental state.  It could be a momentary thing or something more.  Regardless, the band has done an impressive job of telling the song’s story through the combination of its musical and lyrical content.  And it’s just one example of how Hot Streak proves to be a solid sophomore release for The Winery Dogs.  ‘The Bridge’ is another example of the album’s strength.

‘Oblivion’ is a solid first effort for The Winery Dogs in the band’s new album Hot Streak.  It is also a welcome re-introduction for the band in its new album.  As impressive as it is in whole, it is just one example of Hot Streak’s strength.  ‘The Bridge’ is another clear example of the album’s strength.  The song’s musical content instantly conjures thoughts of King’s X thanks in large part to the work of all three musicians.  In examining the song’s lyrical content it is just as interesting.  That is because of the seeming duality of the lyrical content.  Kotzen sings in the song’s lead verse, “Why do I feel like I know you/I know where you wanna go/I’ve got new things to show you/You’re prime/Don’t you wnana walk over water/From Morocco to Gibraltar/Let’s saunter/Rise we all stand before the altar/You oughtta know/I ain’t gonna let you falter/And when it’s time to die/We’re going right back where we started where we all did.”  This verse alone feels very introspective.  Yet the chorus presents a much different message.  As Kotzen sings, “Sing to me your lullabies/Share all your secrets with me/I’ll bend to your heart’s desire/Step with me/Cross the bridge to the light/And see eternity in my eyes/And for eternity you will be mine.”  On the one hand this comes across as something that would fit into a love song.  On the other hand it could also be interpreted as someone beckoning his or her loved one to come over, perhaps as that perhaps is about to cross over.  That may very well be a stretch.  But the gentility in Kotzen’s vocal delivery coupled with the overall positive vibe of the song seems to hint that it could indeed be just that.  It would make that lead verse make more sense.  The two elements together could perhaps be serving to present a vibe of the positive feelings that one feels as they are about to leave one world and go on to the next.  It definitely would be interesting to learn the real story behind this song.  Regardless, the positive vibes exhibited through both its musical and lyrical content makes it yet another great example of why Hot Streak proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable recording.  It still isn’t the last example of the album’s enjoyment, either.  Midway through the album’s run, the band changes gears in dramatic fashion in its presentation of the interestingly titled ‘Fire.’  It is one more example of what makes Hot Streak such a strong return for The Winery Dogs.

‘Oblivion’ and ‘The Bridge’ are both excellent examples of just how much Hot Streak has to offer audiences.  While both songs are key examples of the album’s strength in their own right they are not the only examples of that strength.  ‘Fire’ is just as important to note in the overall picture of Hot Streak as those songs or any of the others not directly noted.  It is so important to note because it is the polar opposite of those songs.  The sound presented through its musical content is much more reserved. It would be unfair to call it a ballad per se. But it is still a deeply moving piece regardless in its musical content alone. The song’s lyrical content is just as moving. That is exemplified as Kotzen sings, “We’re struggling with everything/And I don’t understand who we are/Sometimes I wanna run from me and find an end to it in your arms/Running dry/And I feel so numb/I could/But I don’t know what it’s for.” He goes on to sing later in the song, “In this portentous lie that is you and I/How do we secede/I’ve got money on it/It’s all a dream.” As the song progresses past this point it becomes clearer that this song must be rooted in relationship issues. Interestingly enough the song’s musical content doesn’t make it come across as the standard breakup song. Yes, it is reserved in its sound. But it doesn’t have that standard oh-woe-is-me vibe. That in mind, it stands out even more against the rest of the album’s offerings. Together with those songs Hot Streak proves in whole once more to be a record that from start to finish is a welcome return from The Winery Dogs and that is also one of the best of this year’s new rock offerings.

Hot Streak shows from beginning to end to be one of the best of this year’s new rock albums and a solid, welcome return for the rock supergroup. That is exhibited clearly throughout the course of the album’s thirteen tracks. Whether for the album’s driving opener ‘Oblivion’ the upbeat and thought-provoking ‘The Bridge’ or for the album’s deeply emotional, moving midpoint that is ‘Fire’ there is plenty to say about this record. That is just in those songs, too. The rest of the songs not noted here each exhibit in their own way plenty of positives. The album in whole is one that is, again, a solid, welcome return for the trio and one that is among the best of this year’s new rock offerings. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Hot Streak is available now online along with all of The Winery Dogs’ latest news at:





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