JR JR Share Their Vegas Experiences in New Single “The Gambler”

The woozy track is the first new music from the duo since last month’s August and Everything Prior EP.

Making the best of an objectively bad situation, Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott—collectively known as JR JR, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. before that—have been using the time they’d originally set aside to tour their new EP August and Everything Prior to write and record more music they’ll be revealing in the coming stay-at-home months. 

But while their bodies are at home, their minds took a trip to Vegas. Their first post-August single arrives today with the woozy “The Gambler,” a narrative pulled from a memorable excursion to the city of sin with an instrumental inspired by the state of mind of seemingly everyone they met throughout the saga. 

Stream the new track below, and read on for more on the fateful events that inspired “The Gambler”—including Guy Fieri–affiliated restaurants, abandoned horse racing tracks, and far too many $25 cover charges—as recounted by Josh Epstein.

I’m no prude when it comes to life, but something happened to my psyche seeing single men dragging their oxygen tanks behind them as they smoked menthol cigarettes indoors. I decided I’d try to play some slots, but the ATM charged a $25 fee, and I refused to pay that out of principle. I tried to find another casino (or even a pharmacy) to use a different ATM, but found that the walkway to get to the “strip” was shut down because a bunch of young white teenagers were attempting to fight any homeless people who walked by.

So what was I to do? I figured I’d do what anyone in that position naturally would—go for a bite in the Guy Fieri affiliated restaurant by the hotel pool. But when I was informed I’d have to pay $25 to get to the pool, I again refused out of principle. 

I then took the photo we’re using for this single’s cover in what used to be the horse racing portion of the casino, which seemed to have been abandoned since the early 2000s. Immediately after taking the photo, I had what I can only describe as a 14 hour panic attack until we left a full day early. 

Eventually I got home and started making beats from sounds and samples that matched the feeling of the photo. Soon after, I shared it with Daniel and he enhanced the elements that made the song feel “drunk” and “woozy” to match the characters we were writing about, and brought greater dynamics into the story by shrinking and expanding the sonic landscape as the song moved. 

Ultimately, the song does capture a feeling that is uniquely Las Vegas.

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