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Album Review

Kevin Fowler's 'Chippin' Away': An Extended Look

by Linda Ryan

Kevin Fowler's 'Chippin' Away': An Extended Look

About This Album

Texas native Kevin Fowler has been happily pitting his rock-infused honky-tonk against Nashville's pop hooks and spray-on tans for more than a decade. For a while, he was one of Texas' best-kept secrets -- and with two failed attempts at aligning himself with major-label muscle, it looked like it might stay that way. Bloodied but unbowed, Fowler is nonetheless back for another round - and Chippin' Away just might be the KO he's been waiting for.

Lyrically, Chippin' Away covers all the requisite bases. Songs about trucks? Check. Songs about pretty girls? You betcha. Songs about drinking? In abundance, my friend. And while the subject matter might not break any new ground, Fowler sings them all with the nervous excitement of a freshman at senior prom.

Fowler's current single, "Hell Yeah, I Like Beer," starts as a bar pick-up song, and quickly morphs into an anthemic affirmation of love for the crisp, golden amber. One listen to this fist-pumping ditty and beer lovers will surely start quoting such lines as "It's good for your heart, it's good for your mind/ It's good for getting through a lonely old night." Or perhaps, "Everybody knows you shouldn't drink too much/ So why's it always seem like there's never enough/ Hell yeah, I like beer." Whether this happens under the influence or not is entirely up to you.

There are plenty of first-rate songs on Chippin' Away, including the heartland rocker "That Girl," the good-time twangin' tune "Girl in a Truck," the heartfelt tearjerker "Daddies and Daughters," and the loud and rockin' "Beer Money." In a year already filled with a bounty of decent country releases, Chippin' Away, is one of the best to date. And it's available a full week early, only on Napster.