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The Winery Dogs

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Editors’ Notes

Though there’s danger in putting three virtuoso musicians into one band, The Winery Dogs are one example where it makes great sense. Singer/guitarist Richie Kotzen had already spent a number of years playing with bassist extraordinaire Billy Sheehan in Mr. Big, while Mike Portnoy (a member of the Rock Drummer Hall of Fame) adds a rare spark that works just as well with these concise hard rock tunes as with the progressive ambitions of Dream Theater and Flying Colors. The songs—largely written by all three members, with Kotzen leading the charge—are what explain their success. “Elevate” kicks things off with just the right amount of push and pull in the rhythm section, while the somber “You Saved Me,” with lyrics by Portnoy, lets the group touch the dreaded power-ballad territory without losing the muscle necessary to keep things afloat (though Kotzen’s “Damaged” accomplishes it with far more finesse). “Six Feet Deeper” exposes the members' early-'70s roots with serious Robin Trower–influenced hard rock.

Customer Reviews


It's hard to believe that a band like this finally happened. I've been wanting a true supergroup for a long time, but this far surpasses my lofty expectations. The personnel couldn't be more perfect. I knew Richie could sing amazingly well, play killer guitar, and write songs. It's just that, for me, this is where he really shines. I don't know if it's the collaborative environment or the chemistry between the guys, but he's never sang better, played better, or written better songs. Let's face it: Richie is the songwriter here. But, Mike does what Mike has always done. He's a master arranger and visionary. He knows how to take parts of songs and even different songs and piece them together in the best way possible. His drumming goes without saying. Billy, according to several comments by Richie, made many suggestions for songs on this album. At least twice, if I recall, Billy helped get Richie out of a writing jam. His bass playing has never been more tasteful, yet jaw dropping.

I cannot more highly recommend any album in this genre from the last 15 years. Go get it!


Another genius release by Kotzen! The man never disappoints!! Having Portnoy and Sheehan in the group is like a bonus. Album of the year!!

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

Technical virtuosity with any band member often succumbs to flashy displays over substantive songwriting. And when all the band members are considered to be virtuosos, it stands to reason that songwriting might easily be dismissed in favor of technical ingenuity.

This is not the case with The Winery Dogs' self-titled debut.

Richie Kotzen, who was the third to join this triumvirate, has deftly crafted a collection of songs that incorporate the stylistic subtleties of Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan, while texturizing and adding color to his songwriting.

To be sure, this is a band, and all parties have exhibited a level of deference that results in a compilation that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The final product is an album that is both a throwback to the album experience of the 1970s and a nod to the immediacy of the decades that followed.

The Winery Dogs haven't assumed the role of saving rock n' roll, they've stepped up and redefined rock n' roll.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '10s

Veteran American hard rock trio the Winery Dogs feature the talents of vocalist/guitarist Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big), bass player Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Steve Vai), and drummer Mike Portnoy (co-founder of Dream Theater). Inspired by '70s classic rock, as well as the collected outputs of their prior projects, the group first got together to test the waters in 2012, but it didn’t take long to gel. After a ferocious yet fluid...
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The Winery Dogs, The Winery Dogs
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal, Hard Rock
  • Released: Jul 23, 2013

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