There’s a certain swagger within Texas country music that transcends mainstream genre expectations. Texans are damn proud and nowhere is that more apparent than in the rich sentiment of our music. We cherish our state, relish in our history and boldly stand for our people. And if we can do it all over a few beers…well then…Hell yeah! Texas is Kevin Fowler’s country and you’d be hard-pressed to find a musician who embodies that Lone Star spirit more than the ‘Panhandle Poorboy.’
After a two year recording hiatus, Fowler returns with his eighth studio album and second as an independent artist, Coming to a Honky Tonk Near You, due out Oct 21. Produced by Trent Willmon, Honky Tonk is ‘hardcore troubadour, hillbilly blues’ seeped in Fowler’s old-school charm and Texas twang. Fans got a taste of the album this summer when Fowler released the tongue-in-cheek video for ‘Sellout Song’ along with his new Lone Star anthem, ‘Texas Forever’. At just 8 tracks, Honky Tonk gets straight to the point with no fluff or filler. The infectious beer joint boogie of the title track combines traditional country with modern energy while ‘A Guy Like That’ showcases Fowler’s southern charm and chivalrous charisma. Fowler dishes a little love and loss advice with ‘Movin’ On’ and gets reflective over the fiddle heavy ‘Livin’ Proof’. ‘Bouncer’ is Honky Tonk’s most humorous and Fowler-ly track while ‘He Ain’t No Cowboy’ shows off the singer-songwriter’s sincerity.
Coming to a Honky Tonk Near You is goodtimin’ Texas country music that Fowler fans can appreciate. In Fowler’s words, “it’s old-school, down the middle of the road, beer drinking, hell raising, dancehall country music.”
TMI was fortunate enough to speak with Fowler prior to the album’s release. Here’s what the Panhandle Poorboy had to say.
TMI: Coming to a Honky Tonk Near You is now the second album you’ve released on your record label, how do you enjoy being an independent artist?
KF: We did a few independent records early on and then we did the whole Nashville record label thing. Now we’ve came back full circle to making records the way we used to…in-house. It’s been really cool getting back to where we came from and taking total control of the music. We’re not trying to make music for radio or to appease “the label.” We’re just making records for our fans now and oddly enough, I’m having fun making music again. It was a lot of fun to make this album and I’m proud of it. I think the fans are going to love it.
TMI: How did you go about cutting the album down to these 8 tracks?
KF: We were going to do 12 songs. But, everybody does 12. Everybody does about 8 good songs and 4 “album tracks.” I think that’s just a nice way of saying songs that suck. We didn’t want to put any songs that sucked on this record. It’s been 2 years since we had a record out and we’re trying to get back on the cycle of a record every year. We wanted to knock out 8 strong songs and get it out there to the fans. Every song brings something to the record. They all felt good and the album just felt right.
TMI: Were all 8 tracks complete when you went into the studio to record?
KF: We’re always changing songs. We’ll make changes up until the day we record. We added ‘Guy Like That’ after we went into the studio. I just really dug that song. So, we dropped one and added it while we were in the studio. I never know exactly what we are going to cut until we’re done.
TMI: Do you have a personal favorite track on this album?
KF: I like ‘em all. But, ‘Movin On’ is probably my favorite song. I love the tempo and sentiment of it. I think it will probably be a single coming up. We want to get ‘Texas Forever’ out there for the Texas fan-base. That’s just a no-brainer. I can see it being the new ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ song.
TMI: You’re just about to kick off a tour for this album, it seems like Kevin Fowler is always on tour?
KF: We tour 365. We’re always on the road. We just come home in the middle. Texas country music is all about the live experience. We play every single weekend. We took two weekends off this year which is very rare for us. There were about 5 years there that we didn’t take off any weekends. That’s just the way we roll. Just get out there and take it to the fans.
TMI: How do you maintain that high level of enthusiasm and energy being on the road so much?
KF: We’re a live band. I got into it to play live. A lot of my friends are into the songwriting and recording aspect. They don’t enjoy playing live and touring. But, I do. Our shows are very high energy and that’s what we love to do. I never dread going on the road. If we’ve been home for more than 3 or 4 days, I’m ready to roll, buddy. I smell diesel and I’m ready to get on it.
For more information regarding Kevin Fowler and Coming to a Honky Tonk Near You please see: http://www.kevinfowler.com.
Written by: Doug Leach (firstname.lastname@example.org)