Getting on the cover of Rolling Stone is usually reserved for a major accomplishment - a mega-tour, a platinum album or the release of a highly anticipated album. Even singing about wanting to be on the cover has worked . Dr. Hook's '73 hit "The Cover Of The Rolling Stone" put Dr. Hook himself on the cover.
In August, '11, for the first time in its history, the cover of Rolling Stone was graced by an 'unknown' band, The Sheepdogs. The term 'unknown' may not be totally appropriate since they had released a couple inconsequential albums and toured extensively (in a battered van). The Canadian band won the "Choose the Cover" contest beating out runner-up Leila Broussard. Over 1.5 million votes were cast. In addition to gracing the cover, The Sheepdogs got an Atlantic Records contract.
In '06 the band's line-up was finalized but things moved slowly. Drawing inspiration from late '60's Rock and Southern Rock & Soul, The Sheepdogs played countless dead-end shows in support of their stalled albums, including '10 set "Learn & Burn." All they had to show for it was debt and road weariness.
"Basically, anything and everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong for us," bassist Ryan Gullen told Rolling Stone.
But their luck changed when a Canadian music manager submitted, without the band's knowledge, a Sheepdogs' demo for the "Choose the Cover" contest. The band was selected as one of the sixteen finalists and moved through the elimination rounds before beating out Broussard. Prior to the Rolling Stone cover and accompanying article, The Sheepdogs issued the EP "Five Easy Pieces" which debuted at #7 on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 3,300 copies.
The band's "Learn & Burn" album won three CASBY Awards: Favorite New Artist, Favorite Indie Album, and Favorite New Album. The annual Canadian Artists Selected By You (CASBY) awards are presented by Toronto radio station CFNY for independent and alternative music. The Sheepdogs also took home the Rock Album of the Year honor at the '11 Western Canadian Music Awards.
The awards kept rolling in. The Sheepdogs won Rock Album of the Year, Best New Group and Single of the Year ("I Don't Know"), at the '12 Juno Awards (Canada's Grammys). They were touring Australia at the time and were unable to attend.
The group signed with Atlantic Records and their fourth full-length album, "The Sheepdogs," was produced by The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney.
2007 Trying To Grow
2008 The Sheepdogs' Big Stand
2010 Learn & Burn
2011 Five Easy Pieces EP
2012 The Sheepdogs