Sat, August 26, 2017
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pmThe Cotillion Ballroom
$15 Advance - $18 Day of Show
This event is all ages
All seating is general admission. Table reservations are available at The Cotillion or by calling 316-722-4201. Nancy's A-Maize-N Sandwiches will be here serving her famous #8 and more. Text COUNTRY to 49798 for concert updates and chances at FREE tickets. The Check Room is open during events to check your coats, hats and purses.https://www.thecotillion.com/event/1459841/
A little hardcore troubadour hillbilly blues Bringing country back, a little old a little new, We’re coming to a honky tonk near you”
The title song off of the new album by independent veteran country artist Kevin Fowler pretty well sums up his sound, approach, and endless work ethic. Steeped in the old -school charm of classic country music, amped up with a modern energy all his own, and steadily touring from one packed house of honky-tonk diehards to another, Kevin Fowler makes music on his own terms for the thousands and thousands of loyal fans he’s earned down through the years.
To see Kevin Fowler in concert is more than just a show: it’s an experience. The Amarillo, Texas native’s wild-eyed charisma breathes new life into old favorites like “Beer Bait & Ammo” and “The Lord Loves A Drinkin’ Man,” his twangy vocals riding atop the honky-tonk groove of his ace backing band. Few performers in country music are as naturally gifted at leading the crowd in a good time, whether it’s in a crowded dancehall or the wide open spacesofanoutdoorfestival. Andfewthingsampupabusymusician’senergylevelquite like a brand new album to release: this autumn, Kevin Fowler will be bringing the fresh new material of Coming To A Honky Tonk Near You to his fans around the nation. “Sometimes the recording process can be grueling, but this record was a pleasure to make,” Fowlerbeamswhenaskedaboutthenewproject. “IrecordeditwithmygoodbuddyTrent Willmon. Ithinkitreallyshowsinthefinalproductwhenyouarejusthavingagreattime making music with your friends. "
It’s a downhome feast of new tunes, kicked off by the aforementioned theme song that lays out Fowler and his band’s mission to bring real-deal country music to the people that love andappreciateitthemost. Accordingtothemanhimself,"AsIwastryingtodecidewhich songs to cut, these eight songs stood out to me and immediately became my favorites. I think our fans are going to love this record as much as I do. This is best thing I’ve done since Loose, Loud and Crazy and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it." Listeners may have already caught the first single, “Sellout Song,” or the accompanying video; a collaboration with fellow Texas songwriter Zane Williams, it’s Fowler’s catchy comical take on the modern trend of hip-hop beats and phrases finding their way into mainstream Top 40 countrymusic. Elsewhereherattlesoffdrunkenadventuresononenumber(“Bouncer”) then switches gears to the sincere, humble likes of “Living Proof” or the affectionate ode to his home state on “Texas Forever.”
Speaking of Texas, it would be hard to understand Kevin Fowler’s unique spot in the modern musical universe without a little context of just what his home state has meant to his career. The Lone Star State, for those who aren’t already familiar, has a healthy regional country music industry that’s largely independent of the Nashville system. It’s a breeding ground for singers, songwriters, and musicians steeped in traditional country but empowered to write and play the kind of music that doesn’t necessarily conform to modern trends and expectations. After an early stint playing guitar in the popula r ‘80s metal band Dangerous Toys – did we mention that he’s had an unconventional music career? – Fowler steered hard back towards his country roots, forming his own band and playing the sort of songs his deep Texas twang was always best-suited for anyway. That detour wasn’t an easy path: countless miles on the road, long nights on cramped stages in front of small crowds, and recording on a shoestring budget just to get his new original songs heard. B ut year after year it paid off. Those crowds got bigger and bigger, those songs found their way onto regional playlists, and those self-produced records started to sell well into the tens of thousands. Within a few years there were enough Kevin Fowler fans out there to pack the biggest honky-tonks in Texas and beyond, making him one of the state’s most popular acts. “I think some bands have fans, but our fans are more like my road family,” Fowler affectionatelyclaims. “Theyhavebeencomingtoourshowsandhavingfunwithusfor over 16 years now.”
With that kind of momentum, even the Nashville music industry couldn’ t help but notice and Fowler couldn’t help but take the gamble on extending the reach of his music across the country and beyond. It paid off in many ways: he landed deals with a couple of Nashville record labels, charted with a handful of singles (including the Top 40 hit “Pound Sign”) and albums, recorded a duet with the legendary George Jones , toured Europe and worked with other hitmakers like Sammy Kershaw, Mark Chesnutt, and Montgomery Gentry. Along the way he saw his home state popularity continue to soar and landed atop the bill at some of Texas’ biggest festivals. By the time he stepped back into the independent scene with his 2014 release How Country Are Ya?, homegrown acts that Fowler had influenced and collaborated with – Granger Smith, Cody Johnson, and Josh Abbott among them – were joining him at the top of the list of the region’s most in -demand artists.
In the year 2016, Fowler can proudly say, “This is our eighth studio album and I really think it’s going to be a fan favorite.” And Kevin Fowler still is what he always was: a “Panhandle Poorboy” from Amarillo who loved country music so much that one day he decided to make his own, who has figured out how to do it bigger and better over two decades of hard work, dedication, and always going that extra mile to reach out to the fans that make it all possible. Still “Loose, Loud, & Crazy,” still “100% Texan,” and always Coming To A Honky Tonk Near You.
“I just want to write songs that say something that really means something. I want to ride around in a van, tour the country, and play songs with my buds. Everything I do in music, I want to do it for the love of the music and the sake of the song,” he adds.
It all started back in Baton Rouge where his family’s affinity for music struck a chord. “My grandparents loved country music. My dad was a big classic rock fan,” he said. “Dad kept a guitar in a closet, and I dug it out when I was seven and started making noise of my own with it,” Solar recalls. That so-called “noise” would sharpen quickly, through lessons at the young age of eight, to enrollment at Nashville’s Belmont University, to cuts on albums by Justin Moore and Jerrod Niemann, and, now, his own critically acclaimed solo EP that’s turning heads, Hard One to Turn Down.
And a Hard One To Turn Down, the EP is. Critics at The Daily Country write, “Solar injects a hefty (and welcome) dose of Southern rock into his country, which melds perfectly with his gravelly vocals.” Country Music Rocks was “immediately captivated by all five songs and hopes that [the EP] obtains the recognition it deserves.” The Rowdy found it “exactly what country fans are looking to savor.” And The Shotgun Seat welcomes Hard One to Turn Down as “the perfect pairing of country storytelling and rocking rhythms, married by his dynamic vocals.” And that’s only the beginning.
Flashback to Louisiana where CJ put a group together while in elementary school, recruiting his two brothers. They called themselves The Solar Heat, recollected by CJ as “the cheesiest band name of all time.” But the band built up a solid local fan base, and helped CJ hone his writing and performance skills. However, CJ knew he needed to be in Nashville where he attended Belmont and landed an exclusive publishing agreement before he had even graduated.
“I’d recorded some of my best songs in December of my senior year,” he says. “When I started interning at Sea Gayle Music in February, I played these and two other songs I hadn’t recorded for Mike Owens (VP Creative at Sea Gayle). A week later I had a publishing deal. I’m pretty sure that’s not the way it happens with most interns. I’m grateful for these opportunities, and I don’t plan on taking them for granted.”
The ink was still wet on Solar’s degree when artists all over town started putting the new Nashville songwriter’s self-penned songs on hold. “Blue Bandana,” which he’d written in January, was chosen by Jerrod Niemann and released as a single. Then, Solar began writing with Bob DiPiero and other members of Nashville’s songwriting elite.
Solar tracked and produced Hard One To Turn Down, alongside Sea Gayle’s Brent Anderson, (who’s producing and songwriting credits include Chris Janson, Blake Shelton and others), with established country hit-maker Jerrod Niemann joining in on one song as guest vocalist. Its lead single, a paean to the powers of sipping on a “Tall Boy,” dropped in mid-March and quickly garnered over 164,000 Spotify spins in its first month of release. The EP followed on April 15, in both digital and physical formats. In May, the music video for “Tall Boy,” directed by Marcel Chagnon, premiered on CMT. Tour dates from coast to coast include his own headlining dates and opening slots for The Cadillac Three, Old Dominion, Hank Williams, Jr., and the list goes on.
If it’s not obvious yet, Solar is on the fast track to success, with a solid team in Nashville to back him up. And he’s not going to leave any stones left unturned. As important as songwriting is and will always be to Solar, he is excited to be stepping into the spotlight as an artist. CJ is a powerful vocalist with his Southern, gravelly edge and he has the guitar chops to match. His live show puts it all together and will knock you off your feet.
Yet the pensive, bolero-brimmed, too-wise-for-his-age 23-year-old is riding his momentum thoughtfully, with the long haul in mind. “I’d love to tour the country and have a handful of hit songs,” he muses. “But I’m totally cool with living pretty normally as long as I need to. All that matters is that I keep doing what I love to do.”