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  1. #301
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  2. #302
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    Haha! I was just getting ready to burn the CD to a thumb drive for the car, and the mailman brought this. Guess I must have over ordered.

    Fucking awesome! The album won't even be in stores or from Amazon till June 21st.



    A band that travels in a van with a trailer... so they can afford personalized return address stickers.


  3. #303
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    guitars,

  4. #304
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  5. #305
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  6. #306
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    Drivin' N Cryin' continues to move forward with the new LP Live the Love Beautiful

    Music is a powerful force that can be something different to each and every listener. It is like a good friend or a therapist minus the hefty price tag. Music can be a way to escape, a way to reminisce, a way to release anger, tension or bad mojo. It can comfort one person while aggravating another. Or, it can just be fun. Music can be the most powerful when you find that ONE song or that ONE band that touches your soul. Their music becomes your comfort zone, your happy place, where you feel......at home. At least that is how I look at music. So when Kevn Kinney's vocals gently enter the picture on Drivin' N' Cryin's (DNC) latest album - Live the Love Beautiful - I can honestly say it is good to be home.

    Over the 30+ years DNC has been churning out tunes the band has seen its ups and it's downs. With that being said, no matter where DNC found themselves along their career path the loyalty of their diverse fan base has stayed strong covering all ages, races, creeds and genders. The band's willingness to incorporate new ideas into their music while staying close to their familiar sound is what keeps fans around and adds new ones to the fold. With Live the Love Beautiful they continue to do just that taking their music to new places with recently acquired guitarist Laur Joamets and producer Aaron Lee Tasjan. Tasjan is the x-factor on this latest record. He knows DNC's & Kevn's music almost as well as they do and his added flavor to this batch of songs can be heard throughout the record.

    The album opens with "Free Ain't Free", a track that is 100% what we all love from Drivin' N Cryin'. Jangly guitars fill the ears as it straddles the line between folk music and rock-n-roll, something DNC does so well. The tune draws you in with a passive melody and Kevn's monotone vocals before he wails "FREE AIN'T FREE" and the band comes in hard. Championing the blue collar underdog Kevn lets us know that nothing is free. You may not pay with money but you will pay with something. This tune explodes into a rock-n-roll extravaganza before mellowing out the way it came in.

    They re-tool an older song - "Sometimes I Wish I Didn't Care" - giving it a full on folk music vibe. Kevin sings about the importance of being a caring person even when it would be so much easier to just not give a shit. The world is a better place with people like this in it. DNC takes to reminiscing with the laid back "Over and Over". Singing about simpler times, the joys of being young and first love they paint a vivid picture using moments that trigger these old feelings. Like finding Scarred but Smarter in a record store and having memories from 1985 fill your thoughts.

    Several of the songs incorporate the sounds of the 70's. Not the disco or pop of that era but the underground chunky rock music from bands you would find in the Nuggets compilations at your local record stores. "I Used to Live Around Here" is like meeting an old neighbor as Tim Nielsen (bass) and Dave V. Johnson (drums) set the pace. Garage rock at its finest, "Spies" is a rocking tune that shows off Laur Joamets' guitar prowess and "If I'm Not There I'll Be Here" is a psychedelic wonderland of booming percussion and spacey guitar deliciousness. I could see this tune being a live number that leads to an all out never ending psychedelic jam much in the ways "Underground Umbrella" and "Indian Song" have become.

    The music and lyrics from "What's Wrong With Being Happy" will put a smile on your face and Kevn offers sage words of wisdom on the pop infused "Step By Step". As Dave takes control of "Someday", it has everything you want in a power pop gem and the title track "Live the Love Beautiful" is a beautiful song that takes listeners on a melodious journey .

    My favorite track from the album is the brilliantly written "Ian McLagen". Blues infused undertones provide the foundation as Kevn sings about the late Mr. McLagan and the last time he saw him in Austin. It is more than just an ode to this magnificent musician but offers up a bit of advice. Find something that makes you happy, something that fuels your fire, and keep on doing it. With McLagan, as well as with DNC, music is life, it is what makes life worth living. Kevn's lyrics “Some people, they do one thing / Talk about it all of their lives / But some people, they keep doin’ / It’s what keeps you alive,” hammers this point home. Dan Baird, a fellow musical journeyman, adds his distinctive vocals to the song giving it that something extra.

    Drivin' N Cryin' continues to take their music in a forward direction. They could easily stick to releasing the occasional compilation and/or live album while playing the same greatest hits shows night after night but fortunately for us this is not in their plans. With Live the Love Beautiful the last ten years has seen the band deliver two LP's and four EP's all loaded with new songs that have and will become as coveted as "Straight to Hell", "Scarred But Smarter" or "Fly Me Courageous". The band has been infused with new energy and it is evident when you listen to the latest records or go see them live at one of their numerous shows. For whatever reason If you abandoned or tuned out Drivin' N Cryin' back in the early nineties then you have a lot of catching up to do. I suggest you start with Live the Love Beautiful and work your way back.

    Now if you will excuse me I have a record to spin so if you need me I will be in my happy place.

    (Live the Love Beautiful will officially be released on June 21st.

    https://chrisksu05.wixsite.com/atlau...TcLcCtMGwmI-jc

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    Drivin N Cryin
    Page Liked · 4 hrs ·

    JUST ANNOUNCED!

    We're headed to SPAIN this fall, and we're pretty jazzed about it. See y'all out there! Noise On Tour

    Tickets & More: drivinncryin.com



  8. #308
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    Kevn Kinney still lives around here

    The Drivin N Cryin frontman delves into the songs on ‘Live The Love Beautiful’

    In the song “I Used to Live Around Here,” Kevn Kinney sings, “I used to live around here / a long time ago/I used to play in this bar / before we had a stage.” It’s just one number from Drivin N Cryin’s ninth studio album, Live The Love Beautiful (out June 21 via Drivin N Cryin Records), a collection of inward ruminations and distant personal memories set to the tune of no-frills Southern rock ’n’ roll. It’s also the kind of thing Kinney might say during a lull in the conversation at pretty much any local music haunt. Therein lies the allure of Live The Love Beautiful’s sentimental journeys. Bass player Tim Nielsen, drummer Dave Johnson, and guitarist Laur Joamets have crafted a winding backdrop to Kinney’s personal narratives about everything from reconnecting with Drivin N Cryin’s first LP to looking within himself to find true happiness.

    Drivin N Cryin celebrates the release of Live The Love Beautiful with a hometown show at Center Stage on Friday, June 28. Kinney recently checked in for a candid conversation about the band’s history and how he writes.

    Where did you live when you started Drivin N Cryin?

    I started off on Saint Charles Avenue in ’82-’83, when I was a construction worker. Then I moved into a bungalow on Bellevue Street. Then I moved into the North High Ridge apartments. I came down here with Die Kreuzen, and they would live with me for the week whenever they came through the South. We’d go to Kmart and buy a bunch of white T-shirts and screen them in the apartment. We even had a room for blow-drying.

    That’s kind of the whole synthesis of Drivin N Cryin. I’d had a punk band in Milwaukee, called the Prosecutors. We used to all play together. When Die Kreuzen played the Metroplex they had a night off. So me and the bass player Keith Brammer, and the drummer Erik Tunison did a band called the Rose Cutters. We played at the Metroplex one night and Tim Nielsen saw us. He lived in the grey apartments by Buddy’s. I lived across from the Shady Rest [now the Highland Inn]. There were hearses and ambulances pulling up every two weeks to pick up someone. It was an old-age home, or a retirement home. I don’t know what it was, but they took a lot bodies out of there.

    So Drivin N Cryin’s headquarters were in the North High Ridge apartments. Then Gibby and everybody from the Butthole Surfers moved across the hall from us. … I think they were just getting out of Austin. The thing about Atlanta is that you can tackle the Southeast from here. You’re like six hours from everywhere. You’re 10 hours from D.C.

    Some of Drivin N Cryin’s songs and album titles, like Fly Me Courageous, and Live The Love Beautiful are kind of impenetrable. When Fly Me Courageous was on MTV, I remember wondering, What does that mean? Is it like a soldier being flown off to war? Is it a relationship thing? Maybe there’s no answer at all.

    There is no answer to any of them, really. Sometimes I'll see something wrong and think, “That doesn't make any sense, I love it.”

    “Fly Me Courageous” — I’d been reading Profiles In Courage. John Kennedy was a huge influence on our lives in the Midwest. We were Catholic so we had a lot of Catholic literature. We had the Four Days in Dallas Time-Life book on our bookshelf our whole lives, the Zapruder film, the funeral. … I recently went to see Dead Can Dance. They talk about [Lisa Gerrard] having this language that she came up with when she was 14. I do a lot of that when I'm writing. I write two different ways: I write acoustically, which is very linear, and I'm thinking about the words. Then when I do the rock ‘n’ roll thing I’m just channeling. I'm throwing up melodies, and I'm also throwing out what something might be. It's a sketchbook, but it's also a little bit of me and my own little weird language.

    Wrapped in Sky was originally r-a-p-t. Then I changed it to “wrapped,” so there are two different versions of it. The original was more T-Rexy. Scarred But Smarter is pretty obvious, except everyone called it Scared But Smarter.

    … With Live the Love Beautiful, I was writing a note to Lenny Kaye. Sometimes I’ll write “love on top of love,” but when I looked at what I’d written it said “live on top of live.” Then I changed it to “live the love beautiful.” He took a picture of it and put it on his wall. So I thought, Okay, I should make that a song title.

    (What Ever Happened to) The Great American Bubble Factory?

    That's a concept record. ... It has “Midwestern Blues” and a song called “I Stand Tall” by the Dictators. So this is kind of a ’70s, Midwestern thing. I had written a song called “In the Land (of Things That Used to Be)” that was all about how growing up in Milwaukee my dad would drive me through the city and would say “That used to be Master Lock, that used to be something else …” ... It was like everybody had moved and gone away to Mexico or somewhere else. So I did it to ignite a conversation, like I always try to do. Global warming: People in America don't understand global warming because all the factories and all the pollution moved to places like India, and now you don't see it. They’re like, We have clean air. There's no such thing as global warming. Show me a factory that's polluting. Pittsburgh is a beautiful place. Chattanooga is a beautiful place. Milwaukee is a beautiful place.

    But you know what they don't have now that they have clean air? They don't have industry because it moved somewhere else. We can do as many emissions and global-warming things as we want, but it's really on the other side of the world. We've just dumped all of these toxins into the rivers over there instead of figuring out how to clean it up, which might not even have been possible. America is out of sight, out of mind for everything.

    There was a great thing on the news yesterday about TVs. The guy on the news was at a TV shop in LA talking about Chinese tariffs and how much TVs are going to cost because of their overhead, and how the owner might have to close after six generations of being a TV shop. The reporter asks, “Where's the made in America TV section?” It’s like, Yeah, there isn’t one. That was 20 years ago. And there's no TV repairman ’cause they're not made to be repaired. Everything's disposable. So that was the kind of conversation I had around that record. We can’t even make bubbles here.

    I was at the Dollar Tree looking at bubbles, and it was like, really? We have to ship bubbles from China? We can’t even make bubbles here?

    Live The Love Beautiful is more of a straightforward rock ’n’ roll record.

    I think so. It's a fan record, and it’s more autobiographical. It has a lot of local observances, like of me talking about myself. I have avoided it for so long. There's a song on there, “Over and Over,” where I sing about buying my own first record at the Goodwill in Winston-Salem: “I bought my own record from 1985, side one, song three …” It’s about forgetting what it was that made a song. Before this record there’s one called Too Late to Turn Back Now, which was actually recorded 20 years ago by Kosmo Vinyl. It finally came out on vinyl, and I had to learn songs for the tour. I had to listen, pick up the needle, and listen again!

    “Free Ain't Free” was just something about a woman … My friend Chris Griffin lives down in, I don't even know what the name of that neighborhood is — East Atlanta-ish. But you see that there's one black family left in his neighborhood. I'm glad people have nice places to live, but I feel the resentment from the people who are being pushed out. It’s one thing to be pushed out culturally, but to be pushed out because the house next door is now a McMansion and you can't afford to live in the neighborhood ... Your husband worked at GM, and you guys bought this house and raised your kids, and here you are. His pension paid for your property, and then the property taxes quadruple. You can't fight city hall. You can, but you're going to have to quit your job. It’s going to be a full-time thing. You have to get the press involved. You need some sort of movement involved, ’cause you can't just go in and say, “It’s not fair!” They’re just going to say, “I know!” [laughs].

    “What’s Wrong with Being Happy,” that’s kind of a fun song about a guy thinking about simpler times and watching “The Ed Sullivan Show” and go-go dancers. Sometimes you wonder what is wrong with being happy, why everything is so heavy. Just for a minute, let me just sit here and not worry about my life. It’s getting harder to do. It's why I don't do hard drugs anymore. I don't know if I can control how happy I am. And I have responsibilities. It used to be a lot easier to get high and do stupid things. But the older you get, the more you have to be prepared for your kids to call, or your work to call, or the grandkids. What needs to be answered, who’s collecting, what's in the mailbox? What did you forget?

    … This one will probably be the last Drivin N Cryin album that I do for a while. I am interested in doing another Drivin N Cryin record, but I don't want to be the songwriter. I want to do four songs, and I want everyone else to contribute two songs. I tried to do that with this record when Tim said, “Let's make a record.” I was like, “Alright, what do you guys got?” Their contributions are in there, especially Laur. He’s an amazing guitar player, and he’s come up with some great parts, and Dave Johnson, and Tim — everybody contributed and they always do. But I don't want to be the primary songwriter anymore. I only want to do that on Kevn Kinney records. I don't want Drivin N Cryin to be synonymous with Kevn Kinney. I never really wanted that. I welcome everybody to bring two songs. Plus, I think the fans would like to see the drummer sing two songs, or the guitar player play an instrumental that he wrote. And it's a Drivin N Cryin song, and it’s not something from his solo record. Dave Johnson sings two songs, and it's two songs that he wrote or I’ll co-write them with him — something like that. I don't want it to be just me. I have other projects where I want it just to be me. -CL-

    Questions and answers in this interview have been edited for space and clarity. Press play on the full conversation below.

    https://creativeloafing.com/content-...qnLed4bIyZSGcU

  9. #309
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    Drivin N Cryin is still going ‘Straight to Hell’ UGH! Still... a good read.

    https://www.al.com/life/2019/06/driv...1DkKOaO1IB0H04

  10. #310
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    I still dig this tune …

    "It's so lonely at the top because it's so crowded at the bottom" - Diamond David Lee Roth

    "The truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth" - Todd Wagner

    "Women and Children First ... The REAL Van Halen III"

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    It's a Gift: Aaron Lee Tasjan Talks About Producing Drivin N Cryin

    Aaron Lee Tasjan talks about producing Drivin N Cryin and recognizing the importance of Kevn Kinney's lyrics: "There were a few lines that jumped out and said, 'Kevn's singing about something super-personal right now.' As soon as I realized that, I said, 'My approach has to be that people can hear and understand what he's saying clearly.'"

    Live the Love Beautiful is the latest album from the legendary Drivin N Cryin and the group's first full-length album of new material since 2009's working-class opera, Whatever Happened to the Great American Bubble Factory. Produced by acclaimed singer-songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan, who had his own two-year stint with the band as touring guitarist circa 2013, the album captures a number of things, including the current all-cylinders lineup, which features co-founders Kevn Kinney and Tim Nielsen, longtime drummer Dave V. Johnson and Estonian-born guitarist Laur Joamets.

    Throughout, the quartet sounds remarkably present, issuing a collection of 11 songs that span a variety of topics, from aging to a tribute to late Small Faces' keyboardist Ian McLagan. Moreover, one can hear the seemingly disparate strains that have always informed Drivin N Cryin's music, from sweet psychedelia and jangle pop to Southern rock and the blue-collar tendencies of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy.

    Tracked at Welcome to 1979 Studio in Nashville, Live the Love Beautiful is both a creative renaissance and decided continuation of the group's unwavering commitment to be the best band in North America.

    Speaking from his home in Nashville, Tennessee, Tasjan is effusive in his praise of Drivin N Cryin and candid about the process of recording one of his favorite bands.

    * * *

    >>When did this idea of you coming back and collaborating with the band come up?

    I was sitting around the house one day when the phone rang, and it was Kevn. I always get excited when Kevn calls, mostly because I really enjoy his speaking voice! [Laughs.]

    [Laughs.]

    He said, "Hey, man! I think maybe you could produce a record on us!" I've been involved in the production of my own records, and I did produce a record for Tim Easton [Black Flag Blues]. But the idea really intrigued me. I said, "Sure, man, I'll be there with whatever you need!" [Laughs.] That was that. It was probably a 30-second phone call.

    >>Did he ever tell you what he was looking for from you as a producer?

    Oh God. That would have been nice! [Laughs.]

    >>[Laughs.]

    Kevn is a very intuitive artist. He does almost everything based on how he's feeling. A lot of it's internal. I think the best producers for Drivin N Cryin are either someone who knows the band really well or somebody who doesn't know that band at all. If you know them well, then you understand that this is how they work. [For instance, when] they came over to my house, Kevn had a few ideas for some songs. When I say ideas, I mean some chords for maybe three or four songs. That was it.

    I think some producers would say, "What's the deal here?" But they wrote six really good songs in one three-hour rehearsal at my house. But I knew that that's how they work. I figured, "Well, there won't be much to start with, and then it'll build as it goes." And it did.

    >>Right.

    They wrote four or five more songs while they were recording the actual album. A lot of it was Kevn's intuitive sense leading the charge. My main goal was to be ready to capture that. I had to always be ready to record. A lot of times, they'd start playing, and if you weren't rolling, you'd realize, halfway through, "Oh! This is the take!" [Laughs.]

    >>[Laughs.]

    You have to be on your toes. They're working on how Kevn feels and a lot of that doesn't even get [expressed] to anyone.

    >>It sounds like you were hands-off, but I wonder if there were times when you had to come in and say, "That wasn't the best drum performance, that wasn't the best vocal."

    What I really wanted as a producer was a Drivin N Cryin record that I hadn't heard or hadn't heard for a while. I think we made something that's much more along the lines of their earlier work. Records like Mystery Road, Scarred But Smarter, Whisper Tames the Lion. You get the full measure of what that band is on those three albums. I'd missed that as they'd gone through their various stages of commercial success.

    [I didn't want to do] gated reverb on snare drums and tons of delays on vocals. Part of what is magical about this record is what Kevn is saying, lyrically. It feels like a very personal record. He usually disguises what he says. You can find your own story in it, which is beautiful. But he was reaching deep on this. I wanted people to be able to hear what he was singing really clearly.

    I wanted to capture what I'd heard live, which was this rock 'n' roll juggernaut, which is also capable of breaking your heart with a beautiful acoustic song. There's also a place in Kevn's voice where it sounds naturally distorted. It's years and years of singing, and it sounds very natural to me. I wanted to leave all of that in there.

    >>It feels very much to me like I'm sitting in the room with the band.

    Yeah.

    >>I'm not really aware that it's an album. I mean, I know I'm listening to it on some device removed from the original sessions, but I can picture the room, picture the players when I close my eyes.

    I didn't want to get too many bells and whistles. What I felt was important was to capture a great American rock 'n' roll band in their element.

    >>You mentioned that the band was writing very quickly but, also, that Kevn was tapping into something on the lyrical front. How quickly did you lock into what he was saying?

    For me, it was pretty immediate. I think a lot of that has to do with how much I've listened to Kevn as a writer. Not only in Drivin N Cryin but in the context of his other projects as well. Whether that's solo records or Sun Tangled Angel Revival. There were a few lines, in particular, that jumped out at me as being much more transparent.

    I thought, "Man, Kevn is singing about himself right now." I'm sure there are many other songs where that's been the case in the past. But he has this beautifully opaque way of writing lyrics that reminds me of people like Tom Petty. You're not always entirely sure what they're writing about, but you know it's something.

    >>I get that.

    So, yeah, there were a few lines that jumped out and said, "Kevn's singing about something super-personal right now." As soon as I realized that, I said, "My approach has to be that people can hear and understand what he's saying clearly."

    >>If you're in a collaborative setting, and something reaches up and grabs you, do you say, "OK, can you tell me a little bit more about this line"? Or do you say, "It means what it means, I don't have to explore it on a deeper level"?

    With Kevn, I tread very lightly. I don't even know why. It's not as if he's a super-sensitive soul or that I feel like he would be reluctant to share that kind of stuff with me. I think, I know, in some ways, that Kevn enjoys having a bit of mystery.

    >>Sure.

    I did have a little notebook that I was writing things down in during the sessions. A lot of times, that's technical stuff. This time, though, I was trying to keep that super-simple. I didn't want to note too many things unless they were obvious. On "Live the Love Beautiful," I remember hearing the line, "I feel my life is ending / My body is pretending for the first time." I'd never heard Kevn sing a line like that. I have a friendship with him, outside of working with the band, so that line totally cut me. It broke my heart instantly.

    That was a signpost of, "I think we're making something special here." Aside from heartbreaking, I think this record is humorous. I think this record is exciting. I think it's wild in its way. It has these various emotional moments that can pull you in different directions.

    >>It seems to me that this is a good point of introduction for new listeners and it also seems to me that people are either deeply involved with this band or they have no idea.

    [Laughs.] Isn't that funny?

    >>[Laughs.] Yes. And I always feel like, "If people could just hear this music they'd love it." Do you have any sense of why that's the case?

    You know that is a fair and good question. [Sighs.] Certainly, there are situations, politically, within the band, at times, you can point to when it became strained. Life on the road, trying to balance families. It can become difficult to make good decisions, regardless of the intentions. I'm not saying the guys made bad decisions. I'm saying they probably made the best decisions given what they were working with at the time.

    A lot of people think about Drivin N Cryin now as a band that was popular in the late '80s and early '90s, which is true. But they were also on tour with the Who and Neil Young and R.E.M. They were there for some of the true debaucheries that happen when you're in a traveling rock 'n' roll band. [Laughs.]

    >>[Laughs.]

    I can't imagine that that wouldn't have affected them. But to me, it always felt like the wheels started to come loose on the Smoke record. That's a feeling I get from people who were outside of the band but who were there at the time. People who worked with them. Obviously, I wasn't around. It seems like, universally, people say that there was a lot of personal turmoil going on in the band. That seemed to result in a record that got a lukewarm reception. When you're a band that's five or six albums into a career, people tend to write you off very quickly. Never mind that you just had a gold record, you weren't able to do it twice. Therefore the first one doesn't even really count. It's the cruel reality of the situation.

    >>That happens.

    And I think what's important to remember is that this is still a band that, for a certain group of music fans, is tremendously meaningful. I see it because I still go to their shows and the love for them is still very much there. The amount of commercial success they had didn't turn in to something more, but what it did turn into was something that's lasted for a really long time and probably will last for even longer. The work has never failed me.

    >>I think that people have this desire for "authenticity" in art.

    Sure.

    >>And you look at bands like the Replacements, Drive-By Truckers or John Hiatt and people go, "Ah, they should be more mysterious."

    [Laughs.] I know! I know, man! Maybe it's not the most perfectly romantic version in somebody's head of being this very pure thing, but when you hear this record, and you hear all these places that it goes, all of those things are real.

    Kevn was born in Milwaukee, Tim is from Minneapolis. These are Midwestern guys who moved to the South in the mid-'80s and started punk rock bands. When they started making music in Atlanta, they were already coming at it from a different place because they weren't really from there.

    What they do has elements of Southern rock, but it has elements of power pop. It has all these stylistic things going on, and then you have Kevn, who is a devout student of words. He knows William Burroughs, and he knows Kerouac and all of that. I hear that in his writing, that kind of prose. It creates something that is very authentic, but maybe you can't draw a straight line with it.

    Maybe that's what sometimes eludes the listener. Not every bit of music can be digested in five minutes and just because you can doesn't always mean it's brilliant, either. I think that's one of the great lessons we can learn from Drivin' N Cryin, the importance of sticking with something.

    If there's a spark that makes you believe it the first time, you'll be rewarded by taking the journey of the different places it goes to. Being more than one thing is actually something we should celebrate.

    >>You were in the band for a period of time. What strikes you about that experience?

    The brotherhood of Tim and Kevn. I don't know many guys that have that relationship. They've been a band for 34 years. They still find ways to appreciate each other and hold each other up. There's a mutual respect that's crucial to making the band work. The other thing and I apply this to any musical setting: Just be grateful. Kevn is one of the most grateful people that I know.

    It struck me that, every time we walked on stage, he seemed aware that it could very well be somebody else. It's a gift.

    https://www.popmatters.com/drivin-n-...c#rebelltitem1

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    Quote Originally Posted by Number 47 View Post
    guitars,
    LTLB is SO loaded with guitars.

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    Interview: Kevn Kinney on Drivin N Cryin’s New Album, the Beatles, and Gardening

    https://americanahighways.org/2019/0...G-bTPUZyMAgohc

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    Drivin N Cryin – Live the Love Beautiful

    Drivin N Cryin are one of the most consistent bands I’ve ever followed. And yet, like each of their shows is unique, every Drivin N Cryin album has its own personality. Early on, especially during their Island Records years, this seemed to be dependent as much on whatever producer they were paired with as anything else. Whatever the band’s intention, it’s clear that Anton Fier polished up their rough edges with Whisper Tames the Lion, and Geoff Workman crunched them into a commercial rock powerhouse with Fly Me Courageous and Smoke. Later, I’d venture to guess that shifts in the band’s personnel had more to do with each record’s disposition. Captured during Joey Huffman’s brief stint with the group, keyboards played a big role in the sound of 1995’s Wrapped in Sky, perhaps their most underrated album. Momentarily whittled back down to a three-piece, the self-titled 1997 album (re-released last year as Too Late to Turn Back Now) is infused with a thrilling rawness they hadn’t displayed since Scarred But Smarter. More recently, that series of excellent EPs found the band reinvigorated with the addition of Sadler Vaden on lead guitar.

    And so, keeping with that precedent, Live the Love Beautiful doesn’t really sound quite like any Drivin N Cryin record before it. And yet, it is quintessentially Drivin N Cryin at their best.

    Sadler’s moved on (joining Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit in 2015). So has his replacement, Aaron Lee Tasjan. Well, sort of. Aaron’s back to focusing on his solo career (he had a dandy little album called Karma For Cheap come out last year on New West), but he took enough of a break to produce his favorite band of all time’s new album. Which he also plays guitar, piano and organ on, but Live the Love Beautiful primarily features Drivin N Cryin’s newest lead guitarist. No, not Warner Hodges, who filled in for a while before getting back on the road with Homemade Sin. The newest new lead guitarist for Drivin N Cryin is Estonia-born scamp Laur Joamets, who joined the fold in 2017 after four years earning accolades in Sturgill Simpson’s band. So while DNC’s other recent guitarists departed the band to move on to seemingly bigger things, Joamets left Simpson’s party while it was hot and getting hotter. I’m still convinced he’s gonna ditch DNC to hook up with Steve Earle & the Dukes or something, fitting DNC’s pattern of late, but for now he’s solidly on board. And whoa, what sheer might and texture he adds to the band here!

    Take “If I’m Not There I’ll Be Here,” a concentrated churner that, around the two-minute mark, erupts into a ferocious meat-eatin’ solo that only intensifies the song’s thick psychedelic spindrift. Climaxing with a machine gun drum flurry worthy of Iron Maiden, this track in particular sounds nothing like anything the band has put to wax before.

    But like all DNC albums, there’s a wealth of variety. Rock anthems. Folksy reflections. Punchy garage rock. Things that are almost power-pop. Southern rock. The gentle strummy jangle of “Over and Over” fits its nostalgic glance back: “I bought my own record from 1985. Side one, song three. I must’ve been in love…” Is Kevn Kinney talking about “Another Scarlet Butterfly” here, or “Dime a Dozen” from Everything Looks Better in the Dark? Or is it all just made up to set the scene? Kevn’s such a masterful, painter-like storyteller that every song he sings sounds autobiographical. I’m pretty sure most are, at least in part.

    I’d be sorta let down if “Ian McLagan” isn’t a true story. Coming in Live the Love Beautiful’s home stretch, it’s both its best song and one that, given a few lyrical tweaks, could just as easily have been written about Kevn Kinney himself. An inspiring portrait of a musician who, despite making little money and being overlooked by the masses, keeps doing it for the pure love of playing music, it’s a personal homage from Kinney to the onetime Faces/Small Faces keyboardist, who passed away in late 2014. “The last time that I saw you,” the song begins, “you were carrying your gear in the rain, down the alley at Yard Dog after playing all day with your friends.” I mean, I couldn’t count how many times I’ve seen Kevn in comparable settings. (And I wonder if it’s deliberate how this mirrors the opening of Cat Power’s “I Don’t Blame You,” written about another musician under a different set of circumstances, where fame has sucked the joy out of music and performing.) Later in the same song, Kevn meets Ian and asks him for advice. “He said, ‘Some people, they do one thing and talk about it all of their lives. And some people, they keep doin’ – it’s what keeps you alive.’” That’s Drivin N Cryin ca. 2019 in a nutshell, right there.

    Certainly not everything on Live the Love Beautiful suits the following summary, but, from the album title to songs such as “What’s Wrong With Being Happy,” there’s a feeling of optimism present, or if not optimism then at least resilience in the face of disappointment and hardship. Some people (and bands), they keep doin’. It’s what keeps them alive. Maybe everything looks better in the light.

    https://stompandstammer.com/record-r...DEXYnj88AI2kTo

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    Drivin N Cryin finally book a gig fairly close to me.... and it's a free show in Canton on the Friday night of Hall Of Fame weekend.

    Think I'll pass... FUCK!

 

 

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