The Blue Dogs
2002 marks the 15th year of the Blue Dogs, the country-rock band based in Charleston SC, and they are celebrating with a live CD release, their seventh from their own Black River Records label. Live at the Florence Little Theatre was recorded in May of 1998 in Florence SC, the hometown of lead vocalist/guitarist Bobby Houck and bassist/vocalist Hank Futch, before an intimate theatre audience of 500. The 17-song set features acoustic and electric sets including unreleased and reworked original songs, as well as choice covers from artists such as John Prine and The Grateful Dead. Former members of the band appear as special guests. According to Houck, "This CD has on it probably some of the best live band performances that we've ever found on tape--we were on that night, and the recording is great. Plus the unreleased acoustic songs give our fans something new and exciting to listen to." The CD was made available to fans in November of 2001, and then was released in stores on 02.12.02. The band is currently back on the road and also writing material for a new studio record, on which they plan to begin working later in the year. *** Early Days Blue Dogs have evolved around the long time friendship of Houck and Futch, who first met in the Cub Scouts. They were reintroduced through music later in high school and performed together sporadically during college days, joining forces for good in the Blue Dogs in the late 80's. Drummer/percussionist Greg Walker, originally from Charlotte NC, joined the band in 1993. Electric guitarist/vocalist David Stewart came to the band in 1998 out of Winston-Salem NC. They released three CD's early in their career -- Music for Dog People (1991), Soul Dogfood (1993) and Live at the Dock Street Theatre (1995). These are essentially homegrown affairs, smaller budget recordings that reflect their early days and their roots, and feature unusual cover songs mixed with some originals. *** Blue Dogs: 1997-1998 In 1996, the band entered the Washington DC studio of producer John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, Vertical Horizon, and most recently John Mayer), and the result was the band’s first album of original music, Blue Dogs, which was released in March of 1997. The CD caught the ear of Chicago's Aware Records staff, who included "I'd Give Anything" on the Aware 5 compilation . The subsequent six-week Aware Tour in early ’98 throughout the Midwest featured Blue Dogs with Train and Pat McGee Band. Snippets of songs could be heard on MTV shows, and two independent films included Dogs music in their scores. Their home radio station, 96 WAVE (WAVF 96.1), gave the band support from the beginning and in 1997-98 gave two singles, "I'd Give Anything" and "Long Gone Goodbye," over 1000 spins. As a result the band moved 15,000 copies in a little over a year, a feat which made them 1997’s best seller out of all records at one local Charleston record chain. In late 1998 they recorded a live CD, For The Record, documenting one night’s performance and showing the band at their gritty best in a club setting. *** Letters From Round O: 1999-2000 The band's latest studio recording, Letters From Round O, was produced by Cracker front man David Lowery (fresh from producing Counting Crows and Joan Osborne) and was released in October of 1999 to rave critical reviews and 30+ AAA radio adds of the single “Isabelle,” which 96 WAVE spun 875 times between release date and the end of 2000. Round O sold so many CD's in the first week of release that the band landed at #20 on the adult alternative chart next to Dave Matthews, Sting, and Natalie Merchant. Newspapers from the Denver Post to the Washington Post, Athens GA's Flagpole to music web-zines both at home and international gave the recording high marks. Album Network said: “Every now and again a CD by an unknown artist grabs me and reminds me why I’m in the music business.” The band spent the better part of the year 2000 touring in support of the record, hitting markets from South Carolina to Salt Lake City, including Colorado, Texas, Chicago, and New York. *** 2001 and Rockstar2K During 2001, Blue Dogs continued to tour and perform, primarily in the southeast. The band shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Hornsby, Edwin McCain, Hootie and the Blowfish, Pete Yorn, 311 and more. Then, in the summer, 96 WAVE submitted the band as its nominee for "best unsigned band" in a contest with 40 other bands from around the country. The contest was sponsored by Rockstar2K, the artist development/marketing arm of the New York-based McGathy Company. The Blue Dogs took first place out of the 40 in the internet-only vote--a showing of fan base strength--and performed in the final round with four other bands at CBGB in NYC on September 8th. Although they did not take home the final prize, the band regrouped to begin work on new material and to prepare for nationwide touring in 2002.
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*** Blue Dogs are:
Bobby Houck - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica
Hank Futch - Acoustic & Electric Bass, Vocals
David Stewart - Electric Guitar, Vocals
Greg Walker - Drums & Percussion
Discography: BRR 101 Music For Dog People (1991) BRR 102 Soul Dogfood (1993) BRR 103 Live at the Dock Street Theatre (1995) BRR 104 Blue Dogs (1997) BRR 105 For The Record (1998) BRR 106 Letters From Round O (1999) BRR 107 Live at the Florence Little Theatre (2001)
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