On the heels of scoring his second consecutive No. 1 hit on the Texas Music Chart with “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer,” Kevin Fowler is set to release his rowdy new album, Chippin’ Away. With a quick tongue and a voice that sounds like an old country highway meeting between Randy Rogers and John Mellencamp, Chippin’ Away offers 11 songs about beer, women, a little more beer, and a few simple pleasures all mixed together with a heavy dose of honky tonk.
Everybody knows you shouldn’t drink too much/ so why’s it always seem like there’s never enough?, Kevin wonders on “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer,” a straight up honk tonk number with no chaser. Swinging guitars with a touch of distortion, loose pedal steel and a pinch of fiddle support Kevin’s warm, road-worn voice on the barroom sing-along. Kevin’s rugged style combines traditional country with a rough-around-the-edges rock element that sounds completely natural. Kicking off with a twanged-out guitar riff, “Girl In A Truck,” (the album’s lead single and other No. 1 Texas Chart hit) is an ode to all those country girls driving jacked-up Fords with mud on the tires. With a melody and vocal delivery that bounces like driving down a back road, Kevin’s voice matches the song’s subject and structure while nimbly moving through thumping chords.
Kevin’s quick sense of humor is on display throughout Chippin’ Away. Even on a ballad like the acoustic-based “Daddies and Daughters,” a song about that special relationship and the protectiveness of a father, Kevin uses an understated joke to help complete the overall picture. Amidst tender guitar and quiet piano, Kevin sings, From the moment that a baby girl is born into this world, a man starts to change, does crazy things/ like paintin’ the bedroom pink. On “Beer Money,” an upbeat country/rock song with punching guitars, Kevin sings, Times are lean and money’s tight/ A man’s got to prioritize/ I’ve learned how to sacrifice, in order to make sure there’s enough money for his drink of choice. Whether it’s driving a little less or living without heat in the winter, he’ll do whatever it takes in order to make sure there are a few cold ones in the fridge.
One of the album’s standout tracks is “Big River,” a quick, red dirt roundup with a fluid guitar hook and double-time drums. Tin roof leaks when it rains, Kevin drawls to set the scene before a chorus of Roll on, roll on, roll on big river/ Muddy waters wash my cares away. The song’s bluesy mix of country and rock showcases Kevin’s voice, style and strengths as a songwriter. A well-known melody man on Nashville’s Music Row, with credits such as Montgomery Gentry’s “Long Line of Losers” and Sammy Kershaw’s “Beer, Bait and Ammo,” Kevin’s ability to turn a smart lyric with a quick line give Chippin’ Away its depth. And his guitar and rowdy spirit give the album its fire. So strike up the stereo on a Saturday night – it’s going to be a wild time.