This is Kevin Fisher’s first full length album, but he’s been a presence in the rock/country genre for some time now. His songwriting work with bands as varied as Rascal Flatts and Uncle Kracker has earned him considerable cachet as one of the more talented songsmiths working in popular music today. Beer Me can definitely be labeled a gimmick album with some justification, but these twelve songs aren’t weighed down with placeholder arrangements composed and executed well enough to carry the jokes and no further; far from it. Fisher, instead, serves up an entertaining round of music to accompany his hosannas to the greatness of beer. It’s a good time album that’s easy to get behind and a certain crowd pleaser under any context. It practically behooves Fisher to get a band together and take this set out on the road; these songs are well suited for live performance and audience participation. Beer Me is ready made entertainment for a wide audience.
It begins with a rousing spirit on the song “Beer” and the bluesy strains present in the music are evident from the first. Slide guitar plays a significant role throughout the album; while a strong country music influence is present in the music from the first, there’s also a Southern rock flavor to some of these songs that seems geared for mass appeal. These are definitely easily digestible tunes, but there’s a surprising amount of intelligence informing these tracks. They may rely on a central joke, but the songwriting’s always crouched inside a scenario or story and it comes across without fail thanks to Fisher’s vocal style. He has an unassuming air that juxtaposes nicely with the backing. He mixes it up musically from one track to the next in sometimes subtle and sometimes outright ways. “Beer Me” has a strongly anthemic quality and the backing band immediately masters the slight stutter that gives the track its strut. “Dog Beers” has some strongly comedic traits, but also presents a different side to the songwriting for the first time that will recur throughout the album. The presence of banjo in the musical mix doesn’t dominate things at all, but the added color it provides makes for a compelling listen.
“I Wish You Were Beer” signals another stylistic turn for the album and bringing horns into the music alongside a Caribbean lilt. It’s one of the funnier, good-natured tracks on the collection despite being a kind of heartbreaker and the relaxed air gives it a ton of commercial potential. There’s a little bit of nice pedal steel laced through another relaxed performance with the song “I Like Beer” and the simple accessibility of the song makes for some of the album’s most satisfying listening. Fisher dabbles with some outright electric blues on the song “Beer in the Fridge” and the piercing lead playing on this song certainly doesn’t come across as jokey. If you bother to listen beneath the surface of these songs, there’s a certain amount of seriousness peering through. The anthemic qualities heard earlier in the album rise again with the song “Beerly Beloved” and it has ample swagger. Pedal steel comes across again with the finale “Last Call” and ending the release on a distinctly country note is a smart move musically – it acts as a neat sort of bookend to the opening song. Kevin Fisher’s Beer Me rolls with entertaining, amiable grace and is sure to provide lots of smiles both live and on this release.