A constant on the Texas music scene for over a decade, Kevin Fowler has a large and loyal fan base who enjoy his music as well as his high energy, fun live shows. Now, NYC music fans can get a serving of what he does best when he plays Hill Country Live on June 6th. In advance of the show, Fowler graciously took the time to talk about spreading the gospel of Texas country, "Daddies and Daughters" and more.
Back in 2014 you were part of the Texas Independence Day Show here in NYC. Was that your first time playing in the Big Apple?
You know, I think that was the first time we played up here. We don’t do the Northeast as much as other parts of the country, but we are spreading our wings in that territory a little more. That was a really cool show, and a neat venue. Everywhere you go there are displaced Texans or someone who has listened to this music growing up or went to college and heard it…..we’re everywhere! (laughing)
So then will your show at Hill Country on June 6th be the first time you headline in the city?
Yeah, it will be. I hear it’s [Hill Country] a great venue that has good food, cold beer and live music! I’m looking forward to it. It’s exciting for me to go that far away from home and spread the gospel of the Texas country scene! We’re always conquering new ground, but the region around Texas is our home turf. If you think about it, Texas is about the size of the Midwest, so we have a lot of ground to tend, but we always like to hit new places and meet new people.
We’re excited to have you!
You really seem at home on the stage and one can tell that you enjoy the live show. You make it a point to connect with the fans and make sure everyone has a good time.
I do, I love it. For me, that’s been the end game. I wanna get up there, drink a beer and make some noise. Our genre, the regional Texas/Red Dirt scene, is all about the fan base and the live show. We build it [the fan base] one person at a time. We don’t have the pleasure of a huge radio machine to push our music. We get some radio play, but it’s not like those Nashville guys. It’s all word of mouth and online; it’s shaking hands and kissing babies that keeps our genre where it is.
We are so blessed to have the scene that we have; it just doesn’t exist anywhere else. There is nowhere else I’ve been where a regional music scene is supported so well by the general population. I really believe our scene is what music should be about. It’s got that vibe and that’s why it’s been so prolific. It’s been around, and strong, since the days of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I’m blessed and lucky to be even a blade of grass in the scene. It’s a really cool deal what we have.
It definitely is!
Speaking of the live show, you have a pretty big milestone that you are celebrating this summer, your 2000th show.
We’ve done over 2000 shows, but in the early days we were not that organized (laughing), so this is the 2000th documented show. We are going to celebrate at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth on June 20th. It is going to be a very fun show.
That’s another cool thing about our genre, you know. There are a lot of artists who won’t do 2000 shows in their career, and we have done it in about fifteen years. We play, that’s what we do, we are out there on the road every weekend, reaching people. I see guys like Willie Nelson, who is 81, and he’s still hitting it 200 days a year.
It’s all about the live show, and I like to keep it that way. It’s in the blood, I guess, and luckily I still like it.
The live show is definitely what it's all about, but you also like to interact with your fans in other ways. Just in time for Father’s Day, there is a contest on your website with regards to your song “Daddies and Daughters,” where fans can submit their picture for the chance to have it in your new online video for the song. What sparked the contest?
We are always looking for a way to keep the fans involved, and Father’s Day seemed like a good time to do that. I have three daughters, and that song is autobiographical. The father daughter relationship is a special one, it’s a little different than with boys. My daughters, they know how to work me; they have me wrapped around their little finger!
Switching gears a bit, your current single, “Before Somebody Gets Hurt,” is sitting at #3 on the Texas charts. Amy Rankin sings on the track, how did you connect with her?
We’re really good friends. She was perfect for the job, and she nailed it. It’s always fun to play music with your buddies, which is another thing that’s different down here from other genres. Everyone isn’t so competitive; well everyone’s competitive because you gotta have that spirit, but everyone is friends. We help each other out, and we’re always talking to one another busting each others chops.
There's a lot of camaraderie on the scene. Being that you’ve been involved in it for over a decade, is there any up and comer that you think we should keep our eyes and ears open for?
Cody Johnson is coming on strong, and Josh Abbott. There’s always guys coming up, and that’s the key to the longevity of the scene. Down here we’re always breaking new artists. The old farts like me, Jack Ingram, Roger Creager, and Pat Green, we can only do it for so long. The younger kids keep getting involved and coming into the scene, and then the younger people, like my daughters, have the artists they listen to; so it’s multi-generational.
What about you? Are you working on a new album?
Oh yeah, I’m writing and working on a new album. I’m a little behind the ball. I wish I had it out this summer, but because of the way we tour every week, we don’t have the luxury like the national artists do, where they tour for a year then take six months off to work on the record. We play every week and sometimes it's hard for me to keep everything going, touring, the record, charity work and this and that....or maybe I’m just lazy (laughing). I have to schedule in time for being creative anymore. I do my best writing when I‘m driving around in my pick-up truck with a full tank of gas and a big ole glass off tea.
Well, NYC appreciates you taking the time to come here and play. In closing, is there anything you want to tell people prior to the show on Saturday?
Tell everybody to come on out, leave your problems at home, bring your drinking hat and your dancing boots and we gonna get it on! We gonna have a good time, I guarantee ya! Come on!
When: Sat, June 6, 2015
Doors: 9:45 pm / Show: 10 pm
Where: Hill Country Barbecue, 30 W. 26th St. (Between 6th Ave and Broadway)
Tickets: $25.00; This show will be standing room only.
Note: The show coincides with Hill Country's 8th anniversary, so they'll be offering up drink specials just for Texans including $2 PBRs and $5 PBR + shot offered with a Texas ID.
For more information visit his official website
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To submit your picture for his online contest, upload your photo here or share your photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #daddiesanddaughters. Kevin will pick his favorites to feature in the video. The submission form is open through June 12th. When you submit your photo, you also receive a free download of “Daddies and Daughters.”