August 13, 2014 by Steven Uhles for The Augusta Chronicle
Twenty-five years ago, Drivin N Cryin was a band enjoying, by rock and roll standards, fairly significant success. The band, which had begun in 1986, had garnered a large regional following, released albums on a major label, had videos played on the then-music-centered MTV and was often mentioned in conjunction with the similarly Southern R.E.M.
Last Thursday, a full quarter century later, that same band rolled not into an arena, but Sky City. Thousands of fans did not gather – but a couple hundred did. And those that gathered sang along to the band’s familiar standards, just as they had when they, and the band, were young.
That’s also success.
Though the gigs and returns an act such as Drivin N Cryin currently enjoy are often somewhat more modest that the big paydays of its heyday, credit must be given where due.
The band still plays.
Fans know the songs.
A living – be it major or modest – can be derived from power chords and a catchy chorus. Though that might not seem like much of an accomplishment for a band that had once enjoyed such significant popularity, consider this – Drivin N Cryin is the exception to the rule.
The truth is, bands often have something of a shelf life. They are rarely built to last. Three years is a good run. Ten years is unprecedented. And the exceptions to the rule rarely make it with all the original members intact – Drivin N Cryin, in fact, falls into that category.
I bring this up because I used to be one that mourned the loss of favorite acts, pined for just one more album or another tour from a favored act. But as years pass, I find that I’m more comfortable with the musical circle of life.
Music, for me, has become a process of saying both hello and goodbye. It’s not something that happens with only touring acts, but those local favorites as well.
Consider, for instance, the AMPED Music Contest. There are a lot of acts that I became an unabashed fan of because they participated in The Augusta Chronicle’s annual music contest. For some, AMPED represented the beginning of a successful run through multiple Augusta venues and dates. But they rarely lasted. Relocations ended acts such as Language Arts and Great Day In The Morning. A shift in priorities meant bidding farewell to Plug-In Reindeer. Sometimes, like in the case of 48Volt, a project just comes to its natural end. Is it sad? Perhaps a little, but really it feels more like the end of a marvelous meal.
Music is something to be enjoyed and embraced, but if it lasted forever, be it a simple song or, well, the Rolling Stones, the power can become diminished. When it doesn’t, it’s a little miraculous.
Just ask Drivin N Cryin.