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Hailing from Saskatoon in Canada, the Sheepdogs have been playing their unique brand of country infused blues rock since 2006. The band came to catch up with Orange at Black Deer Festival just outside of Tunbridge Wells. Jimmy had just played the Main stage on the Sunday before sitting down with us to chat about how he started playing guitar and how the AD30 is perfect for his playing.

How did you start playing guitar?

I guess I was inspired by my dad’s good friend at the time, he is a fantastic guitar player. He played an old 65′ Telecaster and it was just the most beautiful guitar, he is a very soulful player and him and my Dad would play and sing, that was kind of my first inspiration to play.

What were your influences when you started playing?

I listened to Hendrix, Cream and Zeppelin, all that kind of stuff, Free! Traced the routes and got into the blues pretty heavy. So I was emulating people like Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Sutton Hose and then into 50’s and 60’s with Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. All that kind of stuff.

How did you join the band?

It’s kind of funny, they had a guitar player leave about 2/3’s of the way through an American tour and they were in a bind. I was good friends with their guitar tech at the time, he bet a weeks wages that I would be a good fit. So they called me up and gave me all the material the night before. I stayed up the night before and learnt everything I could as best as I could. We did one rehearsal and then we did the rest of the tour and I have been with the guys ever since.

How are you finding the festival so far?

Saw Kris Kristofferson, that was pretty amazing! That’s been kind of a dream of mine to see him, I’m a big time fan. It’s a gorgeous festival, beautiful landscape and a laid back vibe, its nice.

What’s your set-up on stage?

It’s not too complicated, I use an old Les Paul, pedal wise an MXR dyna comp for soloing, playing slide and for sustain overall. I have fuzz pedal, a delay, a tube screamer and tuner, I play an Orange AD30. I just love the sound of those power tubes, so I was looking for something that was kind of along those lines but a little more controllable and a lot more volume, so I could get more headroom. It was the perfect amp.

What do you usually look for in an amp?

It has to be reliable and versatile, I have a simple setup, I am a volume control player. So I need an amp to be nice and gainy, but I can dail it back on the guitar and it can be shimmering clean too. In order to have that you have to have headroom otherwise your tone gets too compressed. So there is kind of a happy medium between gain and headroom, I find that amp does it perfect.

What makes the AD30 so suitable for your genre?

It’s that EL84 breakup, it just does something different than any other power tube. It’s a little tighter, a little more top end response and the clarity suits that music fine. It gives me a lot of control, the top channel is great but its pretty gainy for what we are doing, so I use the bottom channel all the time. I will dial it back for different tunes and change the gain structure.

What else makes the AD30 so great?

It sounds fantastic but it’s also super reliable. We do roughly 200+ shows a year and I’ve used mine for the last three years, I have just had to change tubes. That is just super reliable and does exactly what I want it to do every night.

How does it feel being part of the Orange family?

It feels great, love representing fantastic amps that make me sound better!

Of all the genres of music, country is exceptional.

Formed by a continent of migrants, country music is a concoction of hardships and woes interlaced with the music and culture from across the globe. Its predecessor, Roots, spawned a vast array of musical styles that have since split and reconnected many times over.

Claudia Hoyser
Claudia Hoyser plays Orange Rocker 15

It’s music built on experimentation and where one in a million chance happenings seem to occur on a frequent basis. Swerving the direction into new unexplored areas, just as the pioneers had done way back when.

From Cash to Stretches

Although there were many country greats before Johnny Cash, the Rockabilly sound of the 50s, driven by amplified guitars, was a defining moment in the evolution of country music. Luther Perkins, ‘the original man behind the man in black’ paid a huge part in that with his signature ‘boom-chicka-boom’ sound which defined the genre.

It is said that Perkins’ style of playing came by chance when defective equipment left him little choice but to dampen his strings with his palm. Consider the classic locomotive stomp from the hit song ‘Fulsom Prison Blues’. To pull that off requires skill and equipment capable of bringing out those tonal nuances.

A Modern Twist on an Old Faithful

The Orange TremLord 30 was designed with careful consideration to players needs, offering a compact 30-watt all-valve combo that replicates the golden age of Country tone. It’s a sweet sounding amp with an Orange twist, featuring those classic EL84 tubes that add a little British character to the mids.

Orange TremLord 30 Amplifer

What makes this amp unique is the custom made Lavoce 1×12” speaker providing a smoother top end along with more headroom before the amp starts breaking up. It’s the perfect match for players looking for responsiveness; faithfully replicating the subtlety and spacious voicing of that golden age.

Eloquent clean tones can be ceremoniously battered by a crashy, splashy beast of a tube driven two-spring reverb tank that oozes with vintage class. If you want to add in delays or compression for a truly authentic sound, the low impedance 12AT7 tube driven FX loop gives you flexibility without sacrificing on tone. Even at lower volumes, Tremlord 30 is designed to be switched all the way to 1-Watt, ideal for even the most intimate spaces.

The Bakersfield Sound

Speaking of intimate spaces, it was Mearle Haggard experience of watching Jonny Cash perform at San Quentin State Prison in 1959 that lead him to pursue his calling in country music. As far as country players go, Haggard is what Joe Strummer was to Punk Rock; he provided a stark contrast to heavily producer controlled music that choked the mainstream airwaves.

The music was called the Bakersfield sound and its reverberations have cut deep into the music of America, influencing the artists like the Grateful Dead, Credence Clearwater Revival and The Flying Burrito Brothers. These artists, in turn, influenced the Southern Rock movement, and at its peak in the 70s, guitarists began to turn to the grunt of an all-tube British amplifier.

Orange AD30 All-Valve Amplifier

Our flagship Orange AD30 is an ideal midpoint between the classic country tone and that synonymous British sound that harks back to the heyday of the all-valve amplifier. Its balanced and natural compression is the perfect all-rounder amp for country picking. If you need more heat, the second channel gives you more attack while still emphasising the bottom end for a full-bodied tone.

A Divided Country

On one side of the ravine, a glassy formation looms ominously; its meteoric rise is a paragon of success and excess. Below, overshadowed by the enormity of its neighbour, a gritty cliff edge juts out over the ravine.

And there’s no way better to explain it, mainstream traditional and pop country guitarists usually opt for the open and glassy chimes of an amplifier with those iconic American 6V6 tubes. It’s a path well trodden.

Artists like Tim Montana and The Shrednecks aren’t just pushing the envelope of sound, they’re pioneering a new wave of southern rock that’s like a sonic punch in the face. The bastard love child of ZZ Top where smashing out riffs like Thor’s hammer on the Rockies is just another day in the trailer park. Their weapon of choice is the Rockerverb MKiii.

“Orange amps give me the versatility to go from the cleanest, warmest, country sounds to the melt your face, Shredneck shakedown, in the click of a switch! These amps are built for the road and built for life” – Tim Montana

This boozed-up, steroid-fuelled monster is no roadhouse frequenter. It’s built for a hardcore workout on the road with a feast of total delights that range from chimey cleans and iconic gain tones of a classic British crunch right through to a fistfight with Satan himself.

But others choose to expand the frontiers.

Looking Back to Go Forward

Not so long ago the general public could distinguish the difference between that classic American tone and the British sound. While they are fundamentally different, the lines have become blurred. That’s when the magic happens.

Claudia Hoyser – What Kinda Man

Take modern country artist Claudia Hoyser, her amp of choice is the Rocker 15. It’s an amp that is perfectly voiced to bring out the natural sound of the instrument, the perfect accompaniment for Hoyser’s sultry vocal styling. Sensitive to the touch of dynamics and oozing with valve warmth the Rocker 15 begs one question.

How long before others walk the line?

To purchase tickets for Cambridge Folk Festival, visit their website here: www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk 

FESTIVAL DATES: 1ST – 4TH AUGUST 2019

As if summer wasn’t great enough as it is with longer days and being able to leave your house without a coat and brolly, summer is also peak-time festival season which means swapping office-time for field- and fun-time on a very regular basis. We’ve already had our fair share of fun this season with Desertfest, Download and Black Deer – to name a few, and now it’s time for us to get at it, yet again.

In a couple of weeks, we’ll be dusting off our cowboy boots as we head to Cambridge Folk Festival for a long weekend 1st to the 4th of August. The festival, which was first held in 1965, is one of the longest standing folk festivals in the world, which despite of it’s name, hosts an eclectic variety of artists and performers ranging much wider than just folk.

As we all know, festivals can be a somewhat daunting experience with a bunch of incredible artists playing, and manoeuvring oneself through the lineup deciding who to watch when is a difficult task. That’s why, we’ve decided to share our top four at this year’s festival – these can’t be missed;

Jack Broadbent

Jack Broadbent first became a household name, or sort of, when a video of him busking in Amsterdam went viral on Youtube. Equipped with a hip flask for slide and whiskey infused vocals, Broadbent have been bringing dirty blues to the younger generations for quite some time now, playing festivals such as Montreux Jazz Festival as well as smaller venues such as London’s Jazz Café. Personally I have yet to catch him live, but based on reviews and life footage I feel like it’s safe to say he’s a must-see at this years festivities.

Ben Caplan

I first saw Ben Caplan in January 2016 playing London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, deciding there and then that he would be the musical highlight of 2016 – which he definitely was. He has somehow got this ageless thing to him here he plays and sings with such tenderness and charisma that you at times wonder if he might be from another era – until you realise that he’s actually just some early 30s 21st century guy which is just way better than all of us combined.

Graham Nash

This one is a no brainer, surely you don’t expect us to get into why you should catch Graham Nash at the festival…? Well, if so, how about his astonishing tenor voice and contributions to ‘Crosby, Stills & Nash’ or his ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ induction? If that doesn’t get ya – he’s also got four honorary doctorates, meaning he’s not just a better musician in us, but a better human being all in all – might as well go bask in the ambience.

Lucinda Williams

This list wouldn’t be complete without Lucinda Williams, the country and blues artist who had to wait nearly two decades for commercial success after releasing her debut album. Mixing elements of country with rock, americana and blues, Lucinda’s honest lyrics have helped her maintain an authenticity that is rare to see in this day and age, making her a must see at this year’s festival.

Fresh out of last month’s Black Deer Festival and we are in full country mode! July is our ‘Voice of Country’, and below you’ll find four great country artists we are proud to be working with.

Blackberry Smoke, Richard Turner

OBC810 8×10
Terror Bass


Blackberry Smoke is probably one of the hardest working bands around as they spend the majority of their time on the road relentlessly touring. Bassist Richard turner is an avid Orange artist, who first got turned onto the amps after seeing Black Sabbath using them back in the day when the amps were pretty hard to come across in the US. Years later, Blackberry Smoke was asked to play Orange’s 40th anniversary party at NAMM, where Richard played through a full Orange backline. Needless to say, he took a liking to it, and took it home.

The Cadillac Three, Kelby Ray

Crush Bass 100
OB1-300
PPC412 4×12
AD200 MK3 Head
OBC810 8×10
AD30HTC Head

Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three is yet another country artist who’s taken a shine on our brightly coloured amps, and uses them both for his bass and lap steel. When looking for amps, Kelby wants something that’s easy to use and not a big fuss with buttons and knobs, so when he first played Orange at a Nashville festival he was sold; “I plugged into it and it was so easy to use – not a lot of knobs and it just sounded great. I want something that’s going to work, not too much hustle and fuss and something that’s just Rock N’ Roll. Orange is all those things, so that’s why I’ve always gravitated towards them, they’re something I’ve always loved to play.”

Raelyn Nelson Band, Raelyn Nelson

Rocker 15

Raelyn Nelson have been singing for as long as she can remember, and was raised on a diet of gospel and country, before eventually being gifted a guitar by her granddad in her teens. Her granddad happens to be legendary country musician Willie Nelson, so needless to say, music runs in the family. With her band Raelyn Nelson Band, Raelyn pairs a Rocker 15 with her ukulele.

Bob Weir

Rocker 15

Guitarist Bob Weir (Formerly of Grateful Dead) was also mentioned in our “Voice of Clean” article, but is well worth a mention in this month’s Voice of Country too as he was in the man behind a lot of Grateful Dead’s country songs, as well as having built a solid name for himself in country with his solo career, and has this to say about his Rocker 15: “A fun, really flexible little amp for low-volume situations, like playin’ electric along with acoustic instruments….”