The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, April 18, 2014, Music

Kevin Fowler

How Country Are Ya? (Kevin Fowler Records)

A comedic intro explains the intended effect of Kevin Fowler's seventh studio album: "It's country that's rockin', the kind of music that makes you want to crack a cold one and put a good dip in!" From the title track, delineating his romantic dealbreakers and forcing the word "yep!" 16 times to the similarly catchy "Guitars and Guns," "If I Could Make a Livin' Drinkin'," and "Beer Me," Fowler uses his considerable talents to write bumper stickers and beer commercials. Those are 12-gauge blasts compared to his peashooter attempts at sincerity on the cliche "Panhandle Poorboy" and groaningly cheesy "Habit I Can't Break." Only "Chicken Wing," his breezy, front porch collaboration with Davin James, which reminds us that life is short and not to be burned by worry, resonates as genuine. Why wasn't that the thesis of How Country Are Ya? instead of appeals to the Larry the Cable Guy crowd?


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