Kevin Fowler is unique among the Texas-country big guns in that he sounds like he always meant to get around to listening to some Robert Earl Keen, but only after he worked his way through that stack of Hank Williams Jr. and John Anderson records. He’s been paying his honky- tonk dues since before some of the newer beer-bash rock stars had a driver’s license, but on Chippin’ Away (as on much of his recent work) he seems more energetic and less conservative than the average earnest country-rocker, throwing himself into redneck anthems like “Hell Yeah I Like Beer” and “Girl In A Truck” with full-tilt hillbilly chutzpah. The same voice that broke into the scene with stripped-down, tight-budget albums in the ’90s holds up remarkably well amidst a Top-40-friendly wall of sound, with his natural twang lending an authenticity that pushes even the goofiest lyrics so far over the top, they go all the way back around to sincere. Then again, he can handle something as emotionally complex as “Do That With You Gone” with tangible soul that brings to mind early-career standouts like “If These Old Walls Could Talk,” finding an ache in that resonant Texas drawl to match the real-deal heartbreak in the lyrics. It doesn’t hurt to remind folks: he didn’t get to headline the rodeo by being just a one trick pony.