Hug the Dog

Hug the Dog is a rock band from the Dublin-Peterborough area who has made some exciting accomplishments in its short life. Until recently it was a trio formed in early 2012 by guitar player and vocalist Wes Aldrich, bassist Sareth Roeun and drummer Garth Tichy.  The original line-up played together through June of last year when Jeff Costello replaced Garth. Three months later, after having performed in a couple of local festivals (Uplift and Keene Music Festival), at gigs in New York and Vermont, and being selected as a finalist (out of 14,000 entries!) for the Unsigned Only Competition, Hug the Dog expanded to its current line-up of five with the addition of guitarist Whit Shonk and Leslie Shelton on keys. 

And what a ride it has been.  The first task was making room for two more musicians in their sound.  “We were on a tear writing a lot of songs during that time,” explained Wes and Sareth recently.  “So when Leslie and Whit came on, it was a chance to slow down and do some rearranging.  And now we have a lot of songs and can do long sets when we play” Soon the band was recording their new CD The Animals We Raise, playing in the CBGB festival in Brooklyn, NY, and performing at the SXSW festival in Austin TX in March.

Hug the Dog has its own distinct style that incorporates a variety influences ranging from reggae and blues to classic and experimental rock that you can hear on their release. Recorded and mixed in Wes’ studio, the sound is as enjoyable to listen to as the beats are to move to. And while Wes describes the producing of that album as a grass roots project, it has a very professional, big sound.  “I tell people that this is what we sound like this when we play.”

Wes and Sareth reflected on the Monadnock music scene.  The band first performed in the Boston and New York areas where there are more opportunities for original music to be heard.  Then the gigs were booked closer to home.  “We like the music scene here a lot and are glad to be back in the area,” said Wes. “There are a lot of great bands here now. The music scene has changed a lot in the past five years or so.” He noted the strong heavy metal and folk presence in the region, and hopes for a venue that is devoted to original rock music. For now the band is happy to play wherever music lovers are gathered.  “We like playing at Harlow’s; we have a lot of fun there.  And we try to play outdoors as much as possible.  It’s a different atmosphere than indoors in the dark,” Wes mused.

Sareth and Wes are looking forward to playing around New England with the band and promoting their CD in the upcoming months. “We have a big online presence and we would like to eventually have enough of a following to support a tour.  Right now people hear us online, and they tell people about us who tell people that they know – our growth has been pretty organic.” They will be in Keene to perform at McCue’s on June 7, and they are planning on participating once again in the region’s upcoming festivals.

 You can purchase and download The Animals We Raise at iTunes and Amazon.  For details on upcoming gigs in the greater New England area, or for more information about the band, go to their website:

Lynn Merlone is the founder of Monadnotes, a website featuring musical offerings and opportunities in the Monadnock region.Here you find pages with descriptions of local musicians by genre; music venues and events; music instruction; open mics, jams and karaoke; and musical groups for you to join.The Event Calendar boasts the most complete listings of musical events in southwestern New Hampshire.
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