Blue Dogs are back with new Sadler Vaden-produced album

Local rock legends hit The Windjammer beach stage in June.
The Blue Dogs band.


By Robin Gibson


It's a long-awaited comeback for the local band with a cult-like following, and a full-circle moment for the producer.


Charleston's good time rockers, theBlue Dogs,have a new album coming out June 3 titled "Big Dreamers" produced by Sadler Vaden, an accomplished guitarist who has worked with the likes ofJason Isbell and the 400 Unit.It's a long-awaited comeback for the local band with a cult-like following, and a full-circle moment for the producer.


"I have a history with these guys," says Vaden. “They used to hire me when I was 18 or 19 years old to play with them. I’ve always admired their sound, even on their albums before I started playing with them, but this record represents the best part of the Blue Dogs in my mind. It’s a return to form that also brings out the highlights of their last record. Some things are polished, and some things are a little more raw." Vaden goes on to add that "anytime I hear the Blue Dogs, it takes me home to the Carolinas. I feel like they have never gotten the recognition outside of South Carolina and the Southeast circuit. So, I hope this album can get them out there a bit more and gain some new fans who will look back at their legacy as well. These guys deserve the type of record we made.”


Blue Dogs Big Dreamers album cover.


The first single off the new album is "That's How I Knew," marking the first studio-recorded release since "Halos and Good Buys" in 2004. With a raucous drum fill and a swirl of chorus-affected guitars, it’s the first of more to come from an entire album of new music. And Vaden isn’t the only Blue Dogs fan contributing to "Big Dreamers." Legendary Texas songwriterRadney Fostersings background vocals on “That’s How I Knew,” which he co-wrote with Bobby Houck along with the greasy, mid-tempo “If Ever." Meanwhile, dobro master Jerry Douglas joined in on the bluegrass-inspired “The Road You Don’t.” 


JamBasepremiered the music video for “That’s How I Knew,” Blue Dogs’ irresistible ode to finding the right relationship, andBrooklynVeganhighlighted the track, calling it, "a warm, breezy song that finds the long-running band in fine form." Check out the video below and pre-order the albumhere.The band will be celebrating its release with a concert onThe Windjammer's Kona Liquid Aloha Beach StageJune 3. Tickets are available for purchasehere.


The band will be celebrating its release with a concert on The Windjammer's Kona Liquid Aloha Beach Stage June 3.


Founded in 1987 and based here in Charleston, the group is still led by songwriters Hank Futch (bass) and Bobby Houck (lead singer, acoustic guitar), who grew up together in Florence, South Carolina. ​​After nearly two decades on the road, the Blue Dogs took an extended break from touring in 2007 as Futch and Houck accepted jobs outside of music to support their new families. Yet they both filed away occasional phrases and potential titles, just in case they ever had a chance to make another album together. For this project they were joined in the studio by guitarist Dan Hood, steel guitar player Charlie Thompson, and longtime drummer Greg Walker. Keeping it all in one big Blue Dogs family, former member Phillip Lammonds co-wrote three of the new songs.


“We’re doing this to follow that dream of playing music and sharing our sound with whoever wants to listen,” Futch says. “We’ve probably been Americana before that became a term. But we didn’t feel like we had to be anything other than ourselves to write these songs.” Houck adds, “We still have something to say. We can write good songs that we like, knowing other people will like them too. We’ve got a lot more to do, more places to play, and maybe bigger places to play. Because of this album, we get to live this dream longer than we thought.”



"Big Dreamers" tracklist

The Good Ones
Big Dreamers
Young Love
All Night Long
That’s How I Knew
Love Is Love Is Love
The Good Road
If Ever
The Road You Don’t
Carolina Grand
All Out Of Time


Blue Dogs on tour 

April 29 - Mills River, NC - Sierra Nevada Taproom & Restaurant
April 30 - Rock Hill, SC - Come See Me Festival
May 7 - Bluffton, SC - The Roasting Room
May 8 - Bloomingdale, GA - Randy’s Pickin Parlor
June 3 - Isle of Palms, SC - The Windjammer’s Kona Liquid Aloha Beach Stage