By Contributing Writer Debbie Acenas
The divine power these players have in their craft will move you, with new studio tracks from The Winery Dogs and their new EP “Dog Years.” The super talented group are displayed with the soulful vocalist/guitarist Ritchie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison), the bluesy-funk bass lines of legendary bassist, Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Talas, UFO, Niacin, David Lee Roth) and the intricate groove and fills of legendary drummer, Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Adrenaline Mob). The opening track “Criminal” starts off with heavy guitar riffage, precise drumming, which leads to Kotzen’s voice of enthusiasm and conviction throughout the track. “The Game” delivers funk, blues, and soul, yet showcasing vocals that define the pure rock n’ roll sound we all love. We also get a glimpse of the softer, and vulnerable side of the EP with the acoustic track “Solid Ground,” which delivers beautiful vocal harmonies of the band, and mid-way leads to Kotzen on piano, and Portnoy on the drums, then sending it back into an acoustic setting. Tempo changes up with the funky groove of “Love Is Alive.” The band’s engine is firing on all pistons, as this takes us into our closing track. We end with a cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” which delivers chills from soulful guitar playing of Kotzen and the high energy, and power heard from Mike Portnoy. The lyrics are infectious, the vocals are soulful, bass sounds enormous, and the dynamic drumming is driven with attitude, and raw energy. If you enjoy classic rock or even Soundgarden, but with a modern twist, give The Winery Dog’s EP, “Dog Years” a listen! I give this album a 9.5/10.