January 08 2018
THE SAN DIEGO TROUBADOOUR :
By Frank Kocher, June 2017
The Shadowdogs are rocking alt-country band that started out in 1998, put out a CD in 2003, Somewhere South of the Clef, that snagged an SDMA award. The front man, multi-instrumentalist and chief songwriter is Bruce Fitzsimmons, and the band also includes a basic core quartet, including bassist/ co-lead vocalist Jon Scarantino, Dan Lehner on guitar/backing vocals, and drummer Kevin Glassel. Their new CD, Tangerine, is the gathering, after a decade-long absence by Fitzsimmons, of “almost” everybody involved in previous incarnations of the band in a 15-track disc. Personnel on the new album are numerous, and include Jeff Ballew’s guitar and Rick Schmidt’s pedal steel. Fitzsimmons wrote or co-wrote and sings ten of the tunes, plays guitars and keys on at least that many, and there are backing vocals on almost everything. The packed-solid, guitar-heavy sound is compelling, and it just pulled down a nomination from SDMA for Best Country or Americana Album.
“Number Nine” kicks off the set with a no-holds-barred rocker that blasts out of the gate with sharp—and uncredited—harp dueling with some tasty slide guitar by Fitzsimmons. It settles into “Mona Lisa,” a mid-tempo tune that works organ accents and harmonies, and nice guitar licks from Ballew, effectively into a tune that laments the loss of a special woman. The title tune, by Sean Fitzsimmons and sung by Scarantino, hits all its marks as a slow