The Lost Dogs : Cornerstone 1992

Cornerstone Festival

Bushnell, Illinois

by Bruce A. Brown

CCM September 1992

On the rainy opening evening of this year's Cornerstone fest, the late-night Coffeehouse tent was transformed into a dogpound that easily rivaled anything staged by Arsenio Hall. Many of the 250 for at least double that number of folk, who had come to see the rare aggregation known as Lost Dogs, a "supergroup" comprised of the leaders of popular bands. Several of these same audience members had been waiting patiently as the group agonized through a sound check nearly as long as most concerts. But no one seemed to mind much, as the tent was dry and the coffee hot. Just past midnight, several rowdy fest-goers began a high-spirited chant-- "Lost Dogs, Lost Dogs"--which gave way howls and barks of recognition, as Mike Roe (77's) and Terry Taylor (da) sidled on stage and struck up the chords of"You Gotta Move." The foot-stomping pair was quickly joined by guest drummer Jon Knox (Adam Again/White Heart) and dobro/steel player Greg Kellogg (Mercy River), who was prominently featured on the Scenic Routes album. By the song's end, Derri Daugherty (The Choir) and Gene Eugene (Adam Again) also took up positions on the small stage. The quartet clearly had been anticipating the chance to perform its music for a live audience. Taylor and Roe struck up a running dialogue with those nearest the stage, while Daugherty and Eugene traded-off various guitars and basses and Knox and Kellogg offered authoritative support.

Although the Dogs played only the songs from its sole album, the reinventions and fresh arrangements gave much of the material new life. Gene Eugene was the biggest surprise vocally, with his stunning interpretations of hard country material such as "I Can't Say Goodbye" and "The Last Testament of Angus Shane." With Adam Again, Gene tends toward a more animated delivery, but with the Dogs, Eugene offered a laconic, Hank Williams approach to his vocal solos. Again, Roe and Taylor, who probably have more live appearances under their belts with their respective bands, took naturally to the spotlight.

Mike Roe, in particular, relished the opportunity to uncork some sterling electric guitar work. "Bullet Train" found Roe and Kellogg unleashing an extended guitar/dobro coda, while the pair performed a wailing guitar/steel duet at the end of "Lord, Protect My Child." Roe offered some steamy harmonica blowing on the Jimmy Reed adaptation "Old and Lonesome" and also turned in some hot rockabilly licks (ala Elvis' "Mystery Train") for the concert-ending "Why is the Devil Red?"

Seeing the Dogs in person also gave one the opportunity to gauge the members' reactions to singing the various lyrics, an especially helpful advantage when the group performed the more political numbers, such as “Bullet Train” and “Fortunate Sons." Though the Lost Dogs made no bones about their dissatisfaction with the current administration in Washington, the all-too-brief concert event was mostly reserved for watching four Christian rock veterans having loads of fun with each other and with their devoted following. Here's looking forward to "Lost Dogs--The Sequel!"