Album Review: Arthur Fowler, “What’s Keeping Me Going”

Written by Album Reviews, Music

It’s appropriate for a Valentine’s Day release to have an element of love in it, though one could argue that every song and every album needs love to successfully communicate a message. For Arthur Fowler, his musical love began with an emulation of his idol, Jimi Hendrix. From humble beginnings in Milwaukee, WI, Fowler’s journey took him to Tokyo, Japan, where he recorded his debut album What’s Keeping Me Going.

Though the Hendrix fingerprint is found over the album’s 11 tracks (including a cover of “Room Full of Mirrors”), Fowler displays an impressive range of sounds and genres, including the folk- and blues-influenced “Please Try” featuring Chicago-based Matthew Skoller on harmonica, the titular track’s mellow vibe, and the bossa nova-tinged “Twilight Breeze.” Even Hendrix’s wailing electric on “Room” is replaced by an… accordion? Oddly, it sounds like the treatment the song was always meant to have.

And remember how I mentioned that love was an important ingredient? Fowler obviously felt similarly when composing “Love the Music,” a bouncy, sunshine-pop ditty about the act of music-making. As Fowler sings, “We just want to play all night / Oh, what better to do with one’s life?”

Couldn’t agree more.

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