Coming to a Honky Tonk Near You
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., Nov. 18, 2016
Indie country act Kevin Fowler's eighth disc begins impressively enough with a titular promise: "Hardcore troubadour hillbilly blues/ Bringing country back, a little old, a little new." Problem is, Coming to a Honky Tonk Near You depends on the latter rather than the former. Woodshedding in Eighties ATX metallurgists Dangerous Toys, Fowler began as a country-rock crossbreeder in the mold of Gram Parsons given that "Movin' On" borders on the Flying Burrito Brothers, and "A Guy Like That" flashes all the raunchy charm of the Rolling Stones' twangier fare à la "Honky Tonk Women." Beyond those three cuts, the plot careens rapidly with no brakes into glorified Southern rock – the kind of hat act soundtrack CMT has been trying to pass off as "country" for way too many years. Which makes closing bro-country parody "Sellout Song" all too rich. You mean those metal and hip-hop-tinged acts aren't real country? Agreed, but who's the pot and who's the kettle here?