The Sheepdogs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Sheepdogs
The Sheepdogs.jpg
The Sheepdogs performing in August 2011
Background information
OriginSaskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Years active2006–present
MembersEwan Currie
Ryan Gullen
Sam Corbett
Jimmy Bowskill
Shamus Currie
Past membersLeot Hanson
Rusty Matyas

The Sheepdogs are a Canadian rock band formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 2006. The group consists of lead singer and guitarist Ewan Currie, lead guitarist Jimmy Bowskill, bass guitarist Ryan Gullen, drummer Sam Corbett, and Shamus Currie, brother of Ewan, playing trombone, keyboards, tambourine, and electric guitar.[1] The Sheepdogs became the first unsigned band to make the cover of Rolling Stone in 2011 and have since grown to popularity in Canada and the United States.

Frontman Ewan Currie describes the band's retro, guitar-driven blues-rock style as "pure, simple, good-time music". Their distinctive sound has been called the "Guitar-mony" (a portmanteau of guitar and harmony) because of the use of harmony in guitar solos and vocals.[2] Currie often credits groups Sly and the Family Stone, Humble Pie, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Allman Brothers Band as influences on his style.

The Sheepdogs tour frequently between recordings, and have played at a number of large festivals including South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Edgefest in Toronto, and Ottawa's Bluesfest and CityFolk Festival.


Ewan Currie was born in Australia, but moved to Saskatoon when he was 11, where he met Ryan Gullen.[3] The pair went to different middle schools but met in a regional music program once a week where they both played clarinet. Currie and Gullen became close friends at Evan Hardy Collegiate in Saskatoon, and learned to play guitar in their spare time. Currie played defensive line for the school's football team and appeared in a number of school theatre productions.[3]

Currie and Gullen met Sam Corbett while attending the University of Saskatchewan, and the three decided to form a band. Corbett had an old bass guitar and a gift certificate to a local music store, so they rented a drum kit and started playing in Corbett's parents’ basement with Corbett on drums, Gullen playing the bass, and Currie playing a recently purchased electric guitar.[3] The band began with a repertoire of 1970's blues-rock songs as well as newer material, including covers of the early Black Keys and Kings of Leon, while also writing their own music. Currie, Gullen, and Corbett called their trio "The Breaks" and released an EP in 2006.[3]

In the summer of 2006, Currie, Gullen, and Corbett met Leot Hanson, who was playing acoustic guitar at a party.[4] Hanson was playing a Kings of Leon song from Youth & Young Manhood, and the trio joined in. The next day, Hanson joined the band and they changed their name to The Sheepdogs.[4]

The band's name is inspired by a story from Ewan Currie's childhood. In Currie's words: "When I was a young boy my mother left me in the front yard of our house and I wandered off down the street. She went running looking for me and found me down at the park playing with a kindly sheepdog. I’ve always felt like those dogs were especially benevolent and sort of watched over me."[5]

Musical career[edit]

After Leot Hanson joined the band in 2006, The Sheepdogs independently released their first album Trying to Grow, which they recorded at Cosmic Pad Studios in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Two years later, after almost constant touring, The Sheepdogs returned to Cosmic Pad Studios to record their second full-length album, Big Stand. The first two records were small affairs, including artwork by friends and family, and were mixed by the band.

The band's third studio album, Learn & Burn was initially released in 2010, then re-released in 2011 following the band's winning of Rolling Stone's "Choose The Cover" competition. The album peaked at No. 14 on the Canadian Albums Chart, and won the award for Rock Album of the Year at the 2012 Juno Awards. The album's first single, "I Don't Know", won the Juno Award for Single of the Year. On February 5, 2013, the album was certified platinum in Canada.

In early 2011 The Sheepdogs were traveling hours by road from Saskatoon to small gigs in Calgary or Toronto in their 1995 Dodge 3500 touring van. The band was in debt after making an expensive trip to Los Angeles to play for a crowd of music industry workers that they had been told would be a big break.[6] Things were about to change though; an agent that the band had met in Toronto submitted a demo tape to Rolling Stone's "Choose The Cover" competition. The Sheepdogs beat fifteen other bands to get the contest win and were featured on the August 18, 2011 cover of Rolling Stone, the first unsigned act to do so. During the competition, the band made appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival as well The Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Quebec. Following their win, the band signed with Atlantic Records, and recorded a new album which was produced by The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney in Nashville.[7]

In 2011 The band's Five Easy Pieces EP debuted at No. 7 on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 3,300 copies.[8] The song "Who?" from this EP was featured in a scene of the second episode ("Tell-Tale Hearts") of season 12 of the hit CBS series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation which aired on September 29, 2011. Their song "Learn My Lesson" was also featured in the opening montage of the sports video game MLB 12: The Show.

The band was nominated for three 2011 CASBY Awards, and in September they won all three: Favourite New Artist, Favourite Indie Album, and Favourite New Album.[9] The Sheepdogs also won Rock Album of the Year at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards.[10]

On April 1, 2012, The Sheepdogs won three Juno Awards, Rock Album of the Year, Best New Group and Single of the Year; the group was touring in Australia with John Fogerty at the time and were unable to attend the ceremony.[11] The Sheepdogs played several festivals in summer 2012, including the Catalpa Music Festival on Randall's Island in New York City in July.[12] On September 4, 2012, The Sheepdogs released their self-titled album on Atlantic Records, once again produced by Carney.[13] The album was recorded during an intensive two week session with Carney at Haptown Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. The Sheepdogs was the band's first album with a major record label. The album featured the gold-certified songs "Feeling Good" and "The Way It Is".

The Sheepdogs have often worked with CBC Music, a branch of CBC/Radio-Canada that highlights Canadian artists through sessions and videos posted to YouTube and the CBC website. In 2012, the band played a live session on the roof of the CBC Toronto building. The 18-minute recording was posted to CBC Music on September 4, and featured four songs from The Sheepdogs album: "The Way It Is", "Feeling Good", "Ewan's Blues" (featuring a trombone solo by Shamus Currie), and "Alright OK". The band finished the set with a cover of The Band's hit "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". The last two songs of the session also featured fellow Canadian artist Travis Good from the country/rock group The Sadies.

In 2013, CBC Music flew the band to Memphis, Tennessee, to record a number of songs at the iconic Sun Studio.[14] The sessions included covers of three Elvis Presley songs which were originally recorded by Presley at the studio: "That's All Right", "Heartbreak Hotel", and "Hound Dog". The session also included the band's own songs "Javelina!" from The Sheepdogs and "Hang On to Yourself" from their first album Trying to Grow. The band visited Presley's home at Graceland, Beale Street, and the popular Memphis restaurant Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken where they recorded intros for each of the songs.

In November, the song "The Way It Is" was incorporated into a television commercial aired nationally for Cadillac ATS automobiles.[15]

"Feeling Good" was chosen by CBC as the accompaniment for a montage of the women's hockey final during their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.[16]

Hanson left the band in July 2014 shortly after he opened the Capitol Music Club, a bar and music venue in Saskatoon.[17] Following the departure of Hanson, Winnipeg guitarist Rusty Matyas, a friend of the band, stepped in as guitarist for the tour promoting The Sheepdogs.[18] Matyas eventually joined the band as a full-time member and has served as guitarist since 2014, including on The Sheepdogs' fifth studio album Future Nostalgia. Matyas also features in some of the band's earlier songs, including "Crying" and "The Contenders" on the band's second studio album The Sheepdogs' Big Stand released in 2008. Shamus Currie, younger brother of lead singer Ewan Currie, has toured with the band since the release of their fourth studio album The Sheepdogs.[19] Shamus Currie's trombone features prominently in the band's live performances of the song "Ewan's Blues" in which he usually takes center stage, often ending the song with a solo version of his brothers' a cappella outro. Shamus Currie has also featured on a number of the band's early albums; Currie's trombone can be heard on the song "Black and Tan" from The Sheepdogs' Big Stand, and "Rollo Tomasi" from Learn & Burn.

In May 2015, the song "Feeling Good" was played each time the Canada men's national ice hockey team scored during the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.

The band released "Downtown" on July 3, 2015, the first single from their fifth studio release Future Nostalgia. In the weeks leading up to the release of Future Nostalgia, the band released an official music video for the single on their YouTube channel. The video features the band members playing "Downtown" in an office setting and making a general mess of the place as people try to go about their monotonous business.

Future Nostalgia was released October 2, 2015 from the independent label Dine Alone Records and Warner Music Canada. The 18-track record was well received by reviewers and fans, nearing the top of the iTunes Canadian charts. Future Nostalgia was recorded in a rented cottage in Stony Lake, Ontario, and produced by lead singer and songwriter Ewan Currie. Currie explained the choice, saying: "We wanted to cut out all the noise and get back to a place where we could just fully immerse ourselves in music." The band worked on the album full-time in Stony Lake, wanting to find some middle ground between the informal garage sound of the platinum-certified Learn & Burn and the whirlwind sessions in Nashville with Carney which produced The Sheepdogs. The album streamed for free the week prior to its release on CBC Music, a platform that the band has used a number of times in the past.[20]

In November 2015, award-winning blues guitarist Jimmy Bowskill from Bailieboro, Ontario, joined the band in advance of the European leg of their Future Nostalgia Tour, playing guitar and pedal steel.

In December 2015, the band appeared on CBS This Morning as a part of the Saturday Sessions music series. They played three songs from Future Nostalgia.[21] The appearance marked the first time that the band had appeared on network television in the United States since featuring on the cover of Rolling Stone and appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2011.

The Sheepdogs performed at the Stanley Cup 125th Tribute Concert in Ottawa, Ontario, on March 17, 2017.[22]

Changing Colours was released in February 2018 after an extended recording period. “Most of the records we’ve made have been under a short time constraint,” Corbett is quoted as saying. “This one was done over six months, with some songs sitting around for two months. Then we’d come back and try different things, so I think that as a result, some of the songs took a different shape.”[23]

The Changing Colours sessions also marked the recording debut of guitar wiz Jimmy Bowskill. “He joined us on tour, learned our whole set basically in one rehearsal and has been with us ever since,” says bass player Ryan Gullen.

Drummer Sam Corbett announced in October 2018 that he wouldn't tour with the band in the United States and Europe after being diagnosed with cancer. He underwent surgery in the summer of that year and began further treatment in the fall. Corbett resumed his post in the band on New Year's Eve for a show in Niagara Falls, Ontario that was broadcast live on CBC Television. Corbett announced his return in a December 22nd Facebook post in which he also announced the birth of his first child.[24]

In early 2019 the band joined Rival Sons on tour first in Europe and then in America, including dates at The Bataclan, Paris and The Sheepdogs first Scandinavian shows in Sweden, Denmark and Oslo.

2019 also saw another Juno award nomination for the band, this time for both "Group of the Year"[25] and for "Rock album of the year"[26].


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications

Trying to Grow
The Sheepdogs' Big Stand
  • Release date: April 12, 2008
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Learn & Burn
  • Release date: February 23, 2010
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD, digital download
The Sheepdogs
  • Release date: September 4, 2012
  • Label: Atlantic
  • Formats: CD, digital download
1 23
Future Nostalgia 11
Changing Colours
  • Release date: February 2, 2018
  • Label: Dine Alone
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Title Details Peak chart positions

The Breaks EP
  • Release date: 2006
  • Label: Self-released
  • Notes: Released as The Breaks
Five Easy Pieces 7 18
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Song Chart peak Certifications Album


2011 "I Don't Know" 48 3 2 Five Easy Pieces
"Who?" 10 5
2012 "The Way It Is" 59 1 1 The Sheepdogs
"Feeling Good" 70 1 1
2013 "How Late, How Long" 21 3
2015 "Downtown" 12 4 Future Nostalgia
"I'm Gonna Be Myself" 10
2016 "Bad Lieutenant" 28 19
"Back Down" 46
2017 "I've Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be" 10 1 Changing Colours
2018 "Nobody" 7 9
2019 "Saturday Night" 35
"—"denotes a release that did not chart.

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
2011 "I Don't Know" Davin Black
2012 "The Way It Is" Randy and Jason Sklar
2013 "Feeling Good" Matt Barnes
"How Late How Long"
2015 "Downtown" Michael Maxxis
2016 "I'm Gonna Be Myself" Sean L.T. Cartwright
"Bad Lieutenant" Michael Maxxis
2019 "What The Hell I've Got"
"Saturday Night" Mat Dunlap



Year Title Role
2012 The Sheepdogs Have At ItIMDb Themselves


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Themselves June 15, 2011 (season 2, episode 459)
August 2, 2011 (season 2, episode 483)
Project Runway Themselves, David Bliss, Bernie Baksa "Image Is Everything" (season 9, episode 9)[37]
the neighbors dog Themselves "The Sheepdogs"; screenplay by Bernie Greenfield and David Bliss (season 2, episode 1)[38]
2012 MTV Live (Canada) Themselves September 22, 2012, season 7

Awards and nominations[edit]

The Sheepdogs awards and nominations
Awards and nominations
Award Wins Nominations
CASBY Awards 3 3
CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards 1
Western Canadian Music Awards 1 1
Junos 3 5
Awards won7
Year Nominated work Event Award Result
2011 Themselves CASBY Awards[9] Favourite New Artist Won
Learn & Burn Favourite Indie Album Won
Favourite New Album Won
Western Canadian Music Awards[10][39] Rock Recording of the Year Won
Themselves CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards Best Live Act Nominated
2012 "I Don't Know" Juno Awards Single of the Year Won
Learn & Burn Rock Album of the Year Won
Themselves New Group of the Year Won
2019 "Changing Colours" Juno Awards Rock album of the year Nominated
Themselves Group of the Year Nominated

[40] [41]


  1. ^ "Saskatoon's the Sheepdogs land cover of Rolling Stone". The Globe and Mail, August 1, 2011.
  2. ^ "The Sheepdogs dig in with Future Nostalgia | National Post". Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Scaggs, Austin (August 18, 2011). "Page 6 of Meet the Sheepdogs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Scaggs, Austin (August 18, 2011). "Page 7 of Meet the Sheepdogs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  5. ^ "Canadian rock band The Sheepdogs reminisce as they ready for 'Future Nostalgia'". September 18, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  6. ^ Scaggs, Austin (August 18, 2011). "Meet the Sheepdogs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "Patrick Carney Producing New Sheepdogs Album". Rolling Stone. January 4, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  8. ^ John Williams. "CANOE - JAM! Music - Artists - Sheepdogs, The : Sask.'s Sheepdogs make top 10 debut". Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "102.1 The Edge Announces the Edge CASBY Award Winners". Broadcaster – Canada's Communications Magazine. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "WCMA Announces Awards". Broadcaster – Canada's Communications Magazine.
  11. ^ "Feist wins Juno for artist of the year". CBC News. April 1, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  12. ^ "The Sheepdogs Interview with New York Music News". August 6, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  13. ^ "Review – The Sheepdogs (self-titled)". September 4, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  14. ^ Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "2014 Cadillac ATS "That's Mine" Commercial Song". Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "The Sheepdogs 'parting ways' with guitarist Leot Hanson - Saskatoon - CBC News". July 2, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  18. ^ Archived from the original on February 28, 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "Sheepdogs confirm split with guitarist Leot Hanson | CTV Saskatoon News". July 2, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  20. ^ Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Metric, The Sheepdogs, Bobby Bazini & Kevin Bazinet to perform at Stanley Cup 125th Anniversary Tribute Concert - Canadian Tire Centre". Canadian Tire Centre. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  23. ^ "The Earl - The Sheepdogs". Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b c d "The Sheepdogs Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  28. ^ a b "Canadian album certifications – The Sheepdogs – The Sheepdogs". Music Canada.
  29. ^ "The Sheepdogs Album & Song Chart History – Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  30. ^ "The Sheepdogs – Music Charts". Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  31. ^ "Canadian Active Rock & Alt Rock Chart Archive: Alternative Rock – January 3, 2012". America's Music Charts. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  32. ^ Rock, Canadian (September 25, 2012). "Canadian Active Rock & Alt Rock Chart Archive: Alternative Rock – September 25, 2012". Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  33. ^ "Chart History". Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  34. ^ "Canadian digital download certifications – The Sheepdogs – I Don't Know". Music Canada.
  35. ^ "Canadian digital download certifications – The Sheepdogs – The Way It Is". Music Canada.
  36. ^ "Canadian digital download certifications – The Sheepdogs – Feeling Good". Music Canada.
  37. ^ "Project Runway: Image Is Everything". Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  38. ^ "the neighbors dog: The Sheepdogs". Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  39. ^ "Night Belongs to Manitoba". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on October 26, 2011.
  40. ^
  41. ^

External links[edit]