Kevin Fowler’s new seven-song album Coming To A Honky Tonk Near You is a perfect blend of whiskey-soaked country that seamlessly moves from good times, to sentimentality, to smacktalk.
The set kicks off with a raucous one-two punch. “Honky Tonk Near You” is a barroom call to arms that proudly announces the band is coming to a town near you with good ol’ two-stepping troubadour hillbilly music. You’ll drink and maybe get lucky, and it’s all because of the band you’re seeing right now. “Moving On” is a boot-stomper about giving advice to a friend who’s conflicted about letting his woman move on.
Kevin Fowler gets reflective on “Living Proof,” a slow song about a rough and tumble lifestyle led, close calls, and near misses. But ultimately he’s thankful for God for saving him by sending a true love his way. It’s a fine, old-school country song. “Texas Forever” is sentimental song that features a slow and dramatic intro filled with a gorgeous fiddle whine. The song celebrates Texas pride — where even if you leave, you’ll still feel that connection to home. “Let us raise up a cold one together for Texas Forever.”
Unrequited love hits the album with the song “He Ain’t No Cowboy” It’s a “you should be with me instead of that guy type of song.” Kinda like “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift, but not poppy…and with cowboy references…and from the perspective of a guy. So, ya know, like it, but not really.
Things lighten up on track four with “A Guy Like That,” an up-tempo track about a woman who is looking for the perfect guy who is handsome, treats her with respect, like a queen, and opens doors for her like any good gentleman. The singer knows exactly who that guy is and it’s no surprise that it’s him. The chorus is infectious and the sentiment of the song is just as sweet. “The Bouncer” is a humorous and raucous bar song about a night that didn’t fare so well for a guy who just wanted to go out and have a few drinks. To say things go sideways is an understatement.
The absolute highlight of Coming To A Honky Tonk Near You though is “Sellout Song,” where Kevin Fowler takes numerous jabs at pretty much every song on modern country radio these days. It’s reminiscent of Maddie and Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song” (he even spoofs the intro of that chart topper). The song is clearly unapologetic and references songs that are “so catchy even haters sing along” while “The lyrics suck, but no one really cares.” To fuel the fire he, along with Zane Williams “rap” throughout the song poking even more fun at the “evolution” of country. The song certainly won’t win over fans (or music directors) of the modern country radio format, but it will certainly resonate with those who want to take the pop out of country.
With Coming To A Honky Tonk Near You Kevin Fowler shows true country roots. He’s an innovator, a reminiscer and most importantly an instigator.