Time working alongside some of the most popular acts in music today, among them Rascal Flatts, has honed Kevin Fisher’s songwriting skills into a finely tuned instrument for delivering mainstream delights. His debut collection Beer Me seizes upon a quintessentially American topic, the virtues of beer, and serves up a 12 pack of variations on the same joke. He has a skill for twisting everyday phrases into endorsements for the joy of drinking beer that will produce smiles in listeners and backs it up with first class music that leans more towards the bluesy, rollicking side of country rock. It gives the humor a needed dose of musical muscle and these are tightly crafted songs and performances clearly designed for a mass audience. Fisher is a winning vocalist who gets over the material with just the right amount of musicality, push, and charisma to make this one of 2017’s more entertaining turns.
“Beer Me”, even on a less than serious release, constitutes a statement of purpose of sorts. It might be a bit of a surprise that an album like this doesn’t traffic near exclusively in anthems, but “Beer” is actually one of the few numbers that come off like that. It’s one of an assortment of numbers powered by a high octane country blues/rock attack and Fisher puts it over with a coolly confident air that many listeners will enjoy. He brings some more rootsy influences into “Dog Beers” with the addition of crystal clear banjo and that little spike peppers the song nicely. There’s an underrated intelligence behind these words as well. “Dog Beers” has a faint elegiac mood that’s never overstated and fits the relaxed pace. Another of the album’s most likable tracks comes with the Jimmy Buffet flavored “I Wish You Were Beer” and, as always, there’s a genuine level of feeling Fisher manages to mingle in with his comedy. Fisher delivers a more customary straight ahead rocker with the track “Better Beer” and it shows the same wont for putting his love letters to beer inside an anthemic structure his target listeners can get behind. “To Beer or Not to Beer” brings listeners back to his quicksilver blues licks getting a full venting and it results in one of the album’s more assertive tracks. His deadpan vocal style works to nice effect as well.
There’s a light honkytonk quality to the song “I Like Beer” and the country music influence is certainly accentuated by the presence of pedal steel. There’s a basic mix of influences that Fisher draws on for these songs and they have a remarkable consistency across the span of the album with this marking one of its high points. “Beer in the Fridge” shifts into a much clearer blues stance and slows the tempo down accordingly. Guitar fans will enjoy the playing on Beer Me as a whole, but this song represents one of the album’s peaks as far as lead guitar goes. The rock side of their musical attack emerges with the stripped down, clinched fist ferocity of “Beerly Beloved”, but it reaches the same anthemic heights of some of the album’s earlier tracks. The ballad “Beer Blue Sky” comes out proverbial nowhere and may seem totally incongruous at first, but Fisher soon wins us over with a sensitive tune centered on the piano. This is definitely an entertaining, musically valid outing and has a fiery spirit no matter what sort of musical pose it takes on.
Kevin Fisher – Beer Me