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Underneath The Owl

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Album Review

In the liner notes to their pretty damn brilliant album Something to Crow About, the Riverboat Gamblers mention that producer (and former Big Boy) Tim Kerr would goad the band into more frantic performances by telling them "Do it like you're from Texas." On their fifth album, Underneath the Owl, it sounds like producer Mudrock instead told the guys, "Do it like you're from Sum 41." In all fairness to the Riverboat Gamblers, Sum 41 would give their eyeteeth to make an album this good. Producer Mudrock (aka Andrew Murdock), best known for his work with Godsmack, has given the Riverboat Gamblers a far cleaner and more polished sound than on their best work, slowing down the tempos a bit, buffing off the rough edges, and letting the individual instruments stand out in sharp relief from one another. Despite the production, the Riverboat Gamblers clearly strive to breathe some life into the proceedings; vocalist Mike Wiebe still sounds like he has enough attitude to level Fort Worth on a good day, and "Keep Me from Drinkin'," "Dissdissdisskisskisskiss," and "Victory Lap" manage to push themselves into fifth gear and show the band can still deliver the goods.


Formed: 1997 in Denton, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Riverboat Gamblers rocked their way out of the university town of Denton, Texas, in September 2001 with the "Jenna Is a No Show" 7". It's unclear how the vinyl sliver was able to effectively harness the sonic fury that the Gamblers' legendary UNT house party live act had become; nevertheless, an instant classic was born. A Tim Kerr-produced eponymous LP followed on Vile Beat; it poured a pint of whiskey on an already raging rock & roll fire. Led by the whooping vocals of Teko (Mike Wiebe), the...
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Underneath The Owl, Riverboat Gamblers
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