Classic rock cover band Sheepdip set for a summer tour

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Sheepid, a classic rock cover band based out of Rindge, has kicked off its 'Summer of 21 Tour' and will play its first of five shows at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner on Sunday, May 23. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/20/2021 10:37:51 AM

It’s Wednesday night and the music coming out of the Spillmore is at first faint as you carefully navigate the bumpy dirt road next to Pool Pond in Rindge.

The tunes pouring out of the cabin are familiar, but making out the particular song and lyrics isn’t clear until the doors open to reveal the full magnitude of that night’s rehearsal, allowing the classic rock sounds to wash over you like a blast from the past.

The Spillmore has long been the home to Sheepdip since it began as a cabin band decades ago. The property has been in the family of Dick Shelton, the only remaining original member of Sheepdip, for years has been the spot to jam for both the band – and other musicians from across the region. Even when it burnt to the ground in November of 2013, the music community rallied to rebuild and it’s been rockin’ ever since.

Wednesdays are for the five band members, as they work through their extensive catalog of classic 70s tunes to prepare for their “Summer of ‘21 Tour.”

The summer schedule includes two more shows at the Woodbound Inn (where they began their 2021 schedule last weekend), as well as five dates at the Phoenix Smokehouse at the Hometown Diner.

In addition to band practice, Fridays are another big night at the Spillmore when others stop in to play, including the occasional appearance of a founding member.

“There aren’t a lot of people that haven’t come and sat in on a Friday night,” said Ken Smith, who plays guitar and sings.

The basis for Sheepdip’s current formation began around for 15 years – and have they ever gotten around. With more than 100 shows under their belt – from down the street at the Woodbound Inn and Phoenix Smokehouse in Rindge to the Toll Booth Tavern at Crotched Mountain Golf Club in Francestown with stops at Harlow’s, Uplift Music Festival and many other local music establishments along the way – Sheepdip has become a household name when it comes to covering the classic music genre.

“Just about any place around here we’ve played,” Smith said.

It started with the introduction of Shelton, Smith and Don Launder by Jim Connors. Ron Patterson entered the fray almost a decade ago and Glen Stegner completed Sheepdip’s current lineup after answering a call for a keyboard player in 2017.

“I saw the ad and I said I got to check these guys out,” Stegner said.

On this particular Wednesday night, Shelton (guitar, harp, percussion and vocals), Smith (guitar and vocals), Launder (bass), Patterson (drums) and Stegner (keys) are working on their narrowed down list of about 40 to 50 songs the band has mapped out for the upcoming season. It’s only about a third of their entire repertoire, but when you’ve been gigging for a decade and a half, it’s imperative to switch up the set list.

“We’ve got a pretty hefty library to draw from,” Smith said.

They played through tunes like “Shanty” by Jonathan Edwards, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones, “Listen to the Music” (Doobie Brothers), “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (The Who) and “Jet Airliner” (Steve Miller Band) just to see where things stand.

“It’s bands you know, but don’t always hear,” Smith said. “And songs that not everybody plays.”

This is where the real work transpires so when they get on stage, the songs are like second nature and the performances of the covers can happen organically. But only getting together once a week means putting in the time on their own.

“My family gives me a hard time practicing for practice,” Launder said.

Some songs are favorites so they return to the lineup more frequently, while others have a shelf life and only stick around for a short time.

“It might come back years later and it may never come back,” Smith said.

If the people are up and dancing, the idea is to keep the good flow going and give them a reason to sway their hips. For more mellow dinner crowds, more listening and technical covers are put in the queue. It all depends on the crowd and the feeling they get as the night unfolds.

“We try to play more of the live version because we’re a live band,” Smith said.

There were a total of 10 public shows on the schedule for the summer, starting with last Saturday’s set at the Woodbound Inn. Sheepdip will play at the Phoenix Smokehouse (Hometown Diner) on Sunday, followed by two more shows at the Woodbound the first weekend in June. While many musicians had to sit out last year, Sheepdip found a way to keep going.

They’ve played for free, done a number of benefit concerts and made a little extra cash for paid gigs.

“We don’t do this as a living; it’s more of a hobby, a love of music,” Smith said.

Over the years, they’ve seen a number of bands come and go on the local music scene, as well as venues.

“We’re still at it, still doing it,” Smith said.

As for the name and where it came from: well look no further than the label for a certain scotch whiskey. Way back when the band was sitting around, playing some tunes, sipping on the adult libation, the name just stuck.

It all came together in the Spillmore which is filled with posters of Hendrix, the Beatles, Zeppelin and the Stones, instruments, a wall of CDs and a disco ball. While the band is known for its shows around the region, the practice space is Sheepdip’s true home.

For more information, visit the website reverbnation.com/sheepdip or search Sheepdip on Facebook.


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