Interview: Jimmy Bowskill of The Sheepdogs

The Sheepdogs

The Sheepdogs are a Canadian rock and roll band from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Formed in 2006, they released their first CD in 2007. By 2011, they became the first unsigned band to ever make the cover of Rolling Stone and they haven’t looked back. The band’s 2010 release Learn & Burn went platinum and year later their self titled CD went gold. The group consists of lead singer and guitarist Ewan Currie, bass guitarist Ryan Gullen, drummer Sam Corbett, and Shamus Currie, brother of lead singer Ewan Currie, playing trombone, keyboards, and tambourine. The band also features Peterborough’s own Jimmy Bowskill on guitar. Mb caught up with Jimmy to find out how the whirlwind has been…

Mb: Hey Jimmy, how are you doing?
Jim: Good!
Mb: Where are you?
Jim: Winnipeg.
Mb: How’s the weather?
Jim: Weather’s nice, actually. Surprising! (laughs)
Mb: So how is everything going?
Jim: It’s going fantastic. It’s been a great run so far.
Mb: How many dates have you played, so far, on this tour?
Jim: 7..8…9…10.. this will be our eleventh show. And then BC… Ths is our last Prairie show and then we’re dipping down into the states a bit.
Mb: I see you’ve got 8 dates in Europe this April…
Jim: Ya, that should be a blast to get back over there, you know?
Mb: How many times have you been over?
Jim: I’ve been over quite a bit on my own. I used to play there a lot as the Jimmy Bowskill Band. I’ve been over with The Sheepdogs maybe 4 or 5 times now. We did a tour opening for The Temperance Movement. They’re a UK band and we did a pretty extensive UK tour and then we went back and did our own, shortly after, and it went real well. It will be nice to get back there with the new record under our belt.
Mb: And how was working on the new record?
Jim: It was fantastic. It was a great process and we were able to take our time with it and really hone it. Get it to where we want it to sit.
Mb: And where’s that? Sitting where?
Jim: Well… you know… it’s funny making a record. It kind of takes on its own vibe and grows as you build it, so I guess it’s just knowing when to.. knowing when it’s finished. You can kinda just tell. (laughs)
Mb: Do you have a tendency to under produce or over produce?
Jim: I would say personally, under produce, but I think this record, I’m very comfortable with the way it came out It’s exciting it’s out. Everyone’s hearing it. The response to the new tunes at the shows has been fantastic. It’s good all around.
Mb: Nice lift to the career, joining The Sheepdogs.
Jim: Ya, absolutely! (laughs) It’s pretty exciting to get that call, you know? It has been an awesome 2 1/2 years, for sure!
Mb: Well, you’re a major talent on your own. This could lead to even bigger things. Listen I have to ask, “What was it like being such a star when you were just a kid? How do you top that? Talk about following a “kid act.”
Jim: (laughs) I don’t know. Music for me is like a series of eurekas. It’s just constant discovery and constant improvement. You’re always finding things to improve on. And never stop playing…. You just grow as a musician based on that and I’ve certainly put in a lot to keep moving along.
Mb: What are you now? 28 years old?
Jim: 27!
Mb: 27 and you’ve already got 15+ years in the business under your belt.
Jim: Ya, I guess so! Geez, it has been that long. I got a pretty early start, for sure.
Mb: And so many years to go…
Jim: It’s just been a blast playing with these guys. We’ve become friends. The road is great. The hang is great. The creative side of things is great.
Mb: Bigger buses, better hotel rooms, better riders…
Jim: (laughs) Ya that too!
Mb: I see you worked on Blue Rodeo’s latest piece 1000 Arms.
Jim: Ya. I ended up doing that tour as well. It was great. I went out last year with them around this time. Last February. We did, you know, Coast to Coast Canada. That was a lot of fun. They’re a great bunch of guys and the music is great! Legendary at this point. Ya, that was great call… and I wasn’t playing guitar either. I was playing pedal steal, mandolin, fiddle and viola. Being able to jump around on different instruments, kept me on my toes!
Mb: Just a testament to your talents and how good you are at what you do. So if you could pick the dream tour what would it be? What’s you perfect gig?
Jim: I don’t know. I’m pretty damn happy where I am right now. The funny thing is, I listen to mostly old music so all the folks that I’d like to hit the road with are either dead or tired. (laughs)

The Sheepdogs appear Tues March 6, 2018
at Showplace Performance Centre