Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

The Drunken Fishermen / Down By The River


Jason Hoffman

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 30, 2005

Heads Up! This article is 17 years old.

For those who don’t hang around the bait

shop, The Drunken Fisherman are Matt Weirick of

Archie Blowers and the Swingin’ Angels, Cliff

Gaither of Cornfed Johnson and Kevin Hambrick of

Blueberry Hurricane. These blokes recorded

Down By The River in a living room back in

the summer of 1999. Why it took six years for

this disc to float upstream to whatzup

Headquarters I’ll never know. Perhaps they were

busy cutting bait.

Inspired by the ending of a marriage, these

musical veterans joined together to record 16

tracks of misery, bliss, freedom and beer.

Utilizing a recently vacated living room and a

Tascam 4-track, the trio gave vent to their

emotions, capturing the live sound of emotional

catharsis. To break up these raw, loose episodes,

a collection of more polished songs by Hambrick

are sprinkled throughout. Not only do these

prevent the album from being one long live jam,

but Hambrick’s penchant for sounding like either

John Lennon or George Harrison gives Down By

The River a slight White Album feel,

mixing in crafted songs with improvisational

freewheeling tomfoolery.

The title track is a foot-stomping roots rocker

with lots of twangy guitars. In “Ballad of the

Fisherman,” bluesy vocals accompany the live jam,

leading to the raw rock of “I Ain’t Got No

Woman,” where the vocalist screams “I ain’t got

no woman” over and over atop a loosely arranged

bed of guitars. “Fishers of Men” is a riotous,

rambling song, as are the live “Got Me On The

Shake” and “Dusty Road,” both of which take

ragged, slide guitars and add trashy garage drums

to augment the singer emoting his pain through

musical wails and groans. My favorite was “Oh

Come On,” a story about trying to buy a hot dog –

I think.

The polished songs sound like rough demos from

Hambrick’s studio work: acoustic guitars, catchy

pop melodies, intriguing vocal harmonies, gentle

mellow-rock pacing and encouraging, hopeful

lyrics. You can see how these two styles contrast

and strengthen each other, with the bright pop

lightening the darker live songs and the live

songs keeping the pop from being too saccharine.

It’s a strange combination and it works.

You can join Weirick on his journey down the

turgid river of relationship hell by visiting

www.youregoingup.com to reel in a copy of Down

By The River. What the album lacks in sound

quality is more than made up for by heartfelt

authenticity.

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