Kevin Fisher – Beer Me
This is an album that, at first glance, is difficult to take seriously. A concept album united by the common theme of beer is sure to elicit some chuckles and there’s no question Kevin Fisher intends to entertain, but even a cursory listen to the accompanying music serves notice that Fisher isn’t a trivial vocal or musical talent. Fisher’s songwriting on Beer Me is unabashed about what it is and the gloriously limited purpose it serves – it’s content to wallow in crude, obvious lyrical jokes and plays on words and that sort of earnestness is impossible to dislike. Some will love this approach, some will despise it. His considerable experience as a songwriter for high quality indie country/country rock acts is every bit as important to the success of these tunes as his attempts at humor. There’s plenty of the latter, however, and the genuine yuck yucks generated by the songs and performance provide listeners with a good time.
There’s some nice wailing blasts of electric slide guitar on the opener “Beer” and Fisher’s flat, distanced delivery proceeds to unwind a weepy tale of woe soaked in hops and barley. There’s definitely a country-ish feel to the performance, but the rock and honkytonk elements of the song are balanced to near perfection. A generous sampling of backing vocals adds further entertainment value. There’s a more pronounced anthemic quality propelling the album’s title song and the track’s bluesy twang has little if any subtlety, but Fisher belts out the lyrics with conviction and the playing has plenty of bite. There’s a light touch of banjo and steel guitar in the song “Dog Beers” and the musical values of the song presents a nice contrast with the infinitely silly lyrical content. It’s funny, as well, how Fisher invariably delivers the lyrics with as straight of a face as he can muster. This is a one joke song, most of the tunes on Beer Me are, but he makes that one joke work for these focused performances.
There’s a light lilt to the song “I Wish You Were Beer” reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet and the accompanying horns never overreach while still striking a slightly rueful quality. This is relatively straight forward song in every respect, but it’s probably the straightest song on Beer Me up to this point and demonstrates satisfying stylishness. We’re back to a bluesy sound with the track “To Beer or Not To Beer” and after a gritty rave up, the song settles into a comfortable groove punctuated with some tasty acoustic slide guitar licks. “Beerly Beloved” is laugh out loud funny, though you might find yourself given brief moments of pause finding paeans to over-indulgence if you take this tune, or the others, remotely seriously. Fisher, once again, doesn’t try to put over this song just on the basis of one joke and, instead, places it inside of a stomping, raucous musical landscape. The album’s final song “Last Call” has a loose, appropriately woozy feel considering the title and its light country inclinations are a welcome ending for the release. Kevin Fisher finishes Beer Me with the same graceful joviality that he opened the album with and, no matter the lyrical content, this is a straight ahead enjoyable album that holds up under repeated listens.
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