Early this February, rock super group The Winery Dogs released its latest album, III, through its own label, Three Dog Music. The band is currently touring in support of the record, which has already produced two singles, ‘Xanadu’ and ‘Mad World.’ Those two singles are positive addition to the record but not the only noteworthy additions to the presentation. There are plenty of other entries among the album’s 10 total songs that make the record worth hearing, one of them being the late entry, ‘The Vengeance.’ It will be discussed shortly. ‘Gaslight,’ which comes even later in the album’s 51-minute run, is another notable entry in this record. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Rise,’ which comes earlier in the album’s run, is yet another standout entry to the album. It will be discussed a little later, too. All three songs noted are just as important to the album’s impact as the two singles already released. When all of those songs are considered with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes III one of the best of this year’s new rock albums.
III, the aptly titled third album from The Winery Dogs, is another strong offering from the rock super group. Its musical and lyrical content alike makes that clear, as its two singles have already shown. They are just two of the songs that show the impact of that collective content. The record offers plenty of other songs that show the strength of its musical and lyrical content, not the least of which being the late entry, ‘The Vengeance.’ Kicking off the album’s second half, the song boasts a musical arrangement that immediately throws back to the pop rock sounds of the 80s through the sound and style taken in its layered guitar line and the distinct vocal style of front man Richie Kotzen. At the same time, Kotzen, bassist Billy Sheehan, and drummer Mike Portnoy also offer a touch of more modern rock to make things even more interesting. The juxtaposition of the two sounds and styles collectively makes the arrangement here unique and fully engaging and entertaining.
The positive mood that the song’s arrangement sets through its presentation works well with the song’s lyrical theme, which presents a message of not giving in to the anger and frustration we all feel from dealing with certain difficult people in our lives. This message is inferred as Kotzen sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I’m in my head/I’m feeling sick of life/I lend a hand and then get crucified/You act like you own me/But you don’t real/All bets are off/The air is thick tonight/I’m not talking anymore/Nobody’s listening/And you’re nothing I adore/You don’t break my boredom, you break my balls/And make me wish I never grew up/And I ain’t laughing anymore.” He adds in the song’s second verse, “I’m if I’m then I’m holy hell/I’m stopping time/I’m clearing all my history” and adds in the song’s third and final verse the most telling statement, I know the strong forgive/The weak ones seek out their revenge/I’ve got no vengeance/I’ve learned the wise ignore/So I’m not gonna waste time settling scores/I’ll let it play out/I’ve got the light without the heat/For the first time I feel alive tonight.” This comes across his frustration of how he is treated, strongly in his frustration of how he is treated, but eventually reaches the point in which he realizes there is no point in being angry and wanting vengeance. He even states it is wasting time, wanting vengeance against others. It is a statement that is certain to resonate with listeners who allow themselves to be open-minded. This message, paired with the positive vibe in the song’s classic rock-inspired arrangement make the song overall another clearly positive addition to III.
‘The Vengeance’ is just one of the songs featured in III that shows the impact of the album’s musical and lyrical content. ‘Gaslight’ is just as impacting as ‘The Vengeance’ because it also takes on people who want to make our lives miserable. Kotzen makes that clear right from the song’s outset as he sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Why you so damn sensitive/Always hanging by a thread/And you say, ‘Why you so damn negative?’/It’s what you heard, not what I said/I’m much better when I’m on my own/Life makes more sense when I talk alone/Right from the start you’re bringing crazy/That’s how you like to play/Twist up the mind and keep it hazy/Do what you wanna do/But don’t gaslight me.” He adds in the song’s second verse, “Why you need to escalate/Over something so benign/I’m not into a debate/I don’t wanna waste my time/And you tell me you’re so lazy and confused again/But I know I’m not/Telling me I’m wrong until the end.” He closes out the song stating, “You won’t gaslight me.” This is yet another theme to which so many listeners will be able to relate. That is because of the er since the Trump he topic of gaslighting. Ever since the Trump administration was in charge, gaslighting has becoming an ongoing problem nationwide, and still is today. Those people wo just want to egg others on, and cause fights are such a problem. This comes from the vantage point of those who are tired of dealing with those gaslighters.
The musical arrangement that accompanies this message is unique in its own way. The intense guitar lick that opens the song immediately conjures thoughts of guitar great Joe Satriani. As the song progresses, the driving energy actually lends itself to comparison to songs from Motorhead, especially considering the guitar lick and time keeping. Back and forth of that Satriani style performance and the more Motorhead style work makes for quite the interest. Sheehan’s bass work and Portnoy’s work on the arrangement add their own touch, what with Portnoy’s fills and Sheehan’s fluid performance, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment even more. The fire in the energy entertainment even more. The fire in the energy really does well to help translate the frustration that people feel when they are dealing with people who gaslight others. The whole of that lyrical and musical content shows just as much the content featured inhere is just as impacting as that in ‘The Vengeance.’
‘Gaslight’ is just one more of the songs that shows how much III has to offer musically and lyrically. ‘Rise,’ which comes earlier in the album’s run, does its own share to make that clear. Its musical arrangement does plenty to make that clear. Right from the arrangement’s outset, that classic/southern rock influence proves that. Portnoy’s relatively straight forward performance on the drums and Sheehan’s frenetic bass line pair to make the arrangement more unique from the rest of the album’s arrangements. The overall vibe and energy in the song’s arrangement make certain audiences will remain engaged and entertained throughout. That energy also pairs well with the song’s lyrical theme, which seems to come across as being about fake friends and supporters.
This is inferred as Kotzen sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Knives thrown in rage/To cut you down to size/And that’s just how they slay/Rhymes charmed and safe/Lure you to your grave/But I won’t play/On wheels of fire I’m still riding/These gears that I grind keep me climbing/On and on/Here and gone/Revered and then replaced/They build you up/They pull you down/But I rise, rise, rise.” He adds to the message in the song’s second verse, “Their bitter tongues spit and yell/Judging the unwell/I come out unscathed” before returning to the song’s chorus. That note of people building others up and then pulling them down is as clear as the message gets here. This is a commentary about those negative people who would rather see others fail than succeed. These people are individuals that everyone has encountered in life. To that end, everyone will relate to this theme, too. Keeping that in mind, the musical and lyrical content featured in this song proves just as accessible to listeners as those in the other songs noted here and with the album’s singles. When all of these songs are considered along with the album’s other entries, the whole makes III a win for The Winery Dogs and its fans alike, and one of the best of this year’s new rock albums so far.
III, the third album from The Winery Dogs, is another strong offering from the rock super group that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike. The songs examined here make that totally clear. When they are considered along with the album’s singles and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes III one of this year’s top new rock albums so far.
III is available now through the band’s label, Three Dogs Music. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: