In just the first two years together Kelowna, BC’s Sleddogs, consisting of Kenny Byrka lead vocals, electric bass, electric piano, synthesizers, Michael Donley; electric guitar, backing vocals, and Eric Funk; drums and percussion, backing vocals, have made a significant mark on the Canadian rock landscape.
Their stunningly accomplished 2006 debut, “Great Escape”, tagged them as serious contenders with 3 songs cracking the Canadian Top 100 in Rock and Hot AC formats and their hit single “Perfect Place” breaking through to the Top 40 and receiving a nomination for a 2006 Canadian Radio Music Award – Best New Group Hot AC. Sleddogs were nominated for a total of 6 Awards at the 4th Annual Okanagan Music Awards 2006, and had the honor of taking home the hardware for Group of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, and Rock/Pop Artist or Group of the Year.
Videos for Bye Bye Life and Perfect Place received out of the box adds from both MuchMoreMusic and MusiMax which helped to build the bands profile across Canada. Add more than 280 live dates to the mix along with showcases at CMW 2006, Indieweek 2006 and it is no surprise that they won the online fan based voting contest, Bandcast 2006 granting them a showcase spot at Vancouver’s New Music West 2007.
Following a hectic 2006, Sleddogs settled into a West Coast groove to test the waters for their highly anticipated follow up with producer Steven Drake, formally of The Odds, also known for his stellar work with The Tragically Hip, 54-40, Michelle Wright and Jeremy Fisher. After getting a taste of what might come to be during the re-recording of the track Happy Face, mixed by Richard Chycki (Rush, Aerosmith, Mick Jagger, Pink), and a rocking Christmas version of Frosty the Snowman, the band knew that Steven was the right man to steer the ship on their sophomore album “Take Me Away.”
The Sleddogs goal with “Take Me Away” was to create an album that reflects their live sound. They definitely hit the nail on the head and it was their live sound heard in Austin, TX during SXSW 2007 by Bhurr Records label head Chris Case that initiated the deal that will see “TAKE ME AWAY” hit store shelves across Canada on August 28th through Fontana North / Universal Music Canada. “Take Me Away” was released as an advance single and charted on a number of stations across Canada within its first couple weeks. The video for Take Me Away, directed by Juno Award winner Ante Kovac (Tragically Hip, Matthew Good) saw significant airplay through the spring on Much Music, Much
Loud and MMM.
An early fall tour saw the Sleddogs race across western Canada in support of their second single “Give Me A Sign” which made some noise on the Hot AC charts this summer. Starting in September, Sleddogs launched the beginning of a three month assault on Campuses and Clubs across Central and Eastern Canada only briefly stopping back home in Mid October picking up more hardware at the 2007 Okanagan Music Awards. Sleddogs won all five awards they were nominated for including; Album of the Year, Single of the Year (Take me Away), Rock Group/Pop/Artist of the Year, Group or Duo of the Year, and Male Performer of the Year (Kenny Byrka)
The moody and popular album track, Lack of Control was released on Oct 15 to Canadian Rock and HAC radio. A video for their Rockin’ version of Frosty the Snowman was also shot in November, starring John Dunsworth and Pat Roche known for their roles as Mr.Lahey and Randy of The Trailer Park Boys. Further campus shows are planned in the new year along with the bands first UK tour in the first two weeks of February followed up by a one week tour in Cancun, Mexico with Randy and Lahey of the Trailer Park Boys during spring break. The band is consistently intent on pushing deeper into new territories, continuing to make serious noise on the Rock landscape!