Exclusive: Listen to An Unreleased Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ Demo Produced by Peter Buck of R.E.M.

Atlanta-based band Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ recorded a Peter Buck-produced demo titled “Mountaintop” for their 1989 classic album Mystery Road, but the track was never released … until now. “Mountaintop” will be included on an expanded edition of Mystery Road due out on Oct. 6, and you can listen to the track right now, exclusively at Paste.

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’s forthcoming deluxe edition of Mystery Road includes both a remastering of the original record and nine previously unreleased Buck demos, many of which ended up on frontman Kevn Kinney’s debut solo album, MacDougal Blues, also produced by Buck.

“Mountaintop” is an ambling, upbeat track “about climbing up a mountain to find yourself,” as Kinney sings. The rustic tune is highlighted by bright mandolin notes and inviting vocal harmonies. Kinney tells Paste the song is “about spending years to accomplish what you thought you needed to accomplish and find out you’ve been standing on top of it the whole time.”

Kinney also recalls writing “Mountaintop,” and how the song helped to shape Drivin’ N’ Cryin’s sound from square one:

“Mountaintop” was actually a song I wrote when I first retired … at the ripe old age of 23! I was in the Milwaukee punk avant-garde scene and had sold off all my possessions, grabbed a girl and left town, never to return. First stop, Graceland … Memphis, Tennessee!

We opened all of our shows with it for the first year or so. People would come out to the shows expecting to hear this way-out psychedelic punk band and we would walk out with an acoustic guitar, mandolin and a tambourine. It helped to define us as the band that was like your record collection, or a wedding for that matter. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something to blow your mind.

You can preorder Mystery Road Expanded Edition in double LP, CD or digital formats here. Listen to “Mountaintop” and the band’s 2013 Daytrotter Session below, and see their tour dates further down, plus the Mystery Road Expanded Edition tracklist and album art.

Mystery Road Expanded Edition Tracklist: 01. Ain’t It Strange 02. Toy Never Played With 03. Honeysuckle Blue 04. With The People 05. Wild Dog Moon 06. Home For Sale 07. Peacemaker 08. You Don’t Know Me 09. Malfunction Junction 10. Straight To Hell 11. Syllables 12. Honeysuckle Blue (demo) 13. Toy Never Played With (demo) 14. You Don’t Know Me (demo) 15. Malfunction Junction (demo) 16. 1988 (demo) 17. Mystery Road (demo) 18. MacDougal Blues (demo) 19. Not Afraid To Die (demo) 20. Mountaintop (demo)

Mystery Road Expanded Edition Album Art:

Drivin N Cryin Mystery Road Album Art.jpg


Archives vol. 1 Press Release

Who: Drivin’ N Cryin' What: Archives vol. One record release

When: December 2016

Drivin’ N Cryin’ is a rock n roll band originating from the deep south of Atlanta in 1985. Rooted in punk rock and folk, rock n roll angst seasoned with southern rock anthemic melody, Drivin’ N Cryin’ is truly unlike anything else. Singer song-writer, Kevn Kinney’s, poetic lyricism creates dynamic story telling at a big rock show. The band is releasing a new album filled with never-before recorded songs and original versions of their classic songs from 1988 to 1990. The album is titled Archives vol. One and will be released this December 2016 through Plowboy Records. Having been together for nearly thirty two years, Drivin’ N Cryin’ has had moments of fame and notoriety, such as being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2015. With multiple albums under their belt and many songs recorded, Drivin’ N Cryin’ continues to tour the United States, with an upcoming UK and Netherlands tour this fall. This is an album for fans of the Atlanta group wanting to hear all of those coveted songs and cuts or anyone would who would appreciate this bands catchy yet truly unique sound. A record of “lost songs” if you will. Lead singer, founding member, and writer for the band, Kevn Kinney gives you a taste of what this album has to offer with a poem that he believes incapsulates what this release is all about...

"Spiritual blue-collar self diagnosed young man seeking light


Youthful nomads

guitars and vans

Tribal yearning


From mountains to canyons

The city mouse

the country mouse

The growing pains of young rock 'n' roll

Cassette decks on the dashboard

Hank Williams

Who's gonna do

The next 500 miles

Fame is just over the next mountain

And around the next curve

Lyrical night Wanderings

Naive and channeled

Musical laboratories

Preproduction seduction

Practice room, six packs, and cigarettes

1988 we've been a band for three years now

Who knew we would go 30

This collection of songs shows a young band, and their obvious influence of Dylan on the dashboard

Replacements and Ravi Shankar in que

Tim built a specially designed cassette holder table with a place for my bong in the corner

We had a lot of spirit

We had a million ideas

We just love to play music

Still do

This collection includes one of my favorite never reproduced songs “If I'm not There I'll be Here”

I love the rich, echo phonic backgrounds

My very first song "acceleration"

Songs of first drafts that would later blossom musically and lyrically

"Highway 316”, an obvious Dylan rip off about a highway between Atlanta and Athens

"Lightning strikes twice"

And the original version of wrapped in sky, entitled: ”Rapt in sky"

A psycho Hendrix meltdown

"The Indian song"

Co-written by Peter Buck on the McDougall blues Tour

Upon our return from our first trip to Amsterdam, we wrote a song called "Good Times Cafe"

Tim produced this on his four track cassette recorder

It appears here for the first time!!


I hope you can enjoy this first installment of the archives

I did

It's like a Time Machine

Close your eyes

Wake up and you'll be there"


Kevn Kinney

Atlanta Georgia

Sept 2, 2016


Drivin' N Cryin' brings guitarist Warner Hodges along for their three-decade ride


Fly Me Courageous and Mystery Road, the two most popular albums by Atlanta's Drivin' N' Cryin', are 25 and 27 years old, respectively. Those two albums were fascinating because, played back-to-back, the only similarity between the two seems to be the high, wounded howl of singer/guitarist/songwriter Kevn Kinney. Mystery Road is like a map of late-'80s college radio, wandering from folky protest songs to crunch-heavy hard rock to warm, pseudo-country rock, with a little punk thrown in for good measure. Fly Me Courageous, on the other hand, is largely streamlined, bulldozing guitar rock with a few nods to acoustic balladry.

What's interesting is how these two vastly different albums have defined the band's heyday among entirely different audiences. The alt-rock crowd favored Mystery Road (and its centerpiece misfit ballad "Straight To Hell") and rock radio loved Fly Me Courageous (thanks largely to the stunning title track and the chugging sing-along "Build A Fire"). They seem like an odd pair of albums for a band to record during a career, let alone back to back. But as it turns out, Kinney doesn't see them as that different from each other at all.

"They were different sounding recordings is what they were," Kinney says. "If you listen to live recordings of all of that material, it all kind of sounds the same. But when you're on a major label, they kind of push you in one direction, they tell you what kind of producers they think you should use, and those albums were done by two different producers. One (Scott MacPherson) worked with Dwight Yoakam and one (Geoff Workman) produced Mötley Crüe. So they approached a lot of stuff differently."

Since leaving the major label world in the mid-'90s, the band, anchored by Kinney and bassist Tim Nielsen, has mixed their influences more freely, following the Mystery Road template on albums like The Great American Bubble Factory, and breaking things down even further on a recent series of EPs. "Personally, I think the newer stuff we've done, like the EPs and Bubble Factory, really represent us pretty close to the way we sound now," Kinney says. "They represent all of the things I have to say. They're all commentary about how I feel about life, liberty, and the pursuit of rock 'n' roll. The EPs were our deconstruction of who Drivin' N' Cryin' is: the country circuit, the psychedelic circuit, the punk-rock circuit, and where we are today."

The band has always been a surefire bet onstage, but after years of shifting lineups, they've spent the last year or so on the road with one of the most dynamic American guitarists of the last few decades, former Jason & the Scorchers six-string showman Warner Hodges. This is a man born to be onstage with a guitar in his hands; his solos are dazzling, he's a born performer (his round-the-neck guitar flip is a particularly flashy go-to), and he's an endless source of energy for the rest of the band.

"He's been an inspiration to us," Kinney says. "We were really big fans of the Scorchers. He's a great cheerleader. He'll walk over to me halfway through a song and kick me and tell me he's having a great time or that this is a great song. He's a legend. He's a rock 'n' roll guitar player. In fact, he produced a country record for me a long time ago, and at one point during that, he kind of looked at me like he had an attitude or something. But then I figured out, 'Oh, he's kind of a take-no-prisoners guitar-shredder. He's got more in common with Richie Blackmore than Chet Atkins.'"

And there's one more thing about Warner. "He doesn't drink," Kinney says. "It's been really nice for me to do shows on iced coffee instead of whiskey. It's hard to get coffee in a bar, though. Now I'm bringing coffee to the bar. That's the great part about playing somewhere like Holland, you walk in the bar and they say, 'Would you like a cappuccino?' How hard is it to have a Keurig laying around? I want to be the Johnny Appleseed of Keurigs and go around with one for every bar I play at."

Beverage issues aside, the band still loves mixing things up onstage, to the extent that they don't actually have a set-list. "It depends on what day of the week you see us," Kinney says. "We really don't have a rehearsed concert show. Sometimes 'Straight To Hell' is acoustic, sometimes it's electric, sometimes it's a cappella — it changes as we go."



Charleston City Paper


Ultimate Collection

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>Can’t Promise You the World

  • Honeysuckle Blue
  • House for Sale
  • Wild Dog Moon
  • Straight to Hell
  • Fly Me Courageous
  • Build a Fire
  • Let’s Go Dancing
  • For You
  • The Innocent
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  • To Build A Fire
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  • Honeysuckle Blue
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  • Dirty Angels
  • The Innocent
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  • Check Your Tears At The Door
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    2. Roof Garden
    3. I’ve Got a Message For You
    4. Drivin’ n’ Cryin’
    5. Around the Long Way
    6. Let Lenny B.
    7. Paid in Full
    8. Everything’s Gonna Be Allright
    9. Beneath the Undertow
    10. Passin’ Through
    11. Jet Plane
    12. Nothin’ to Lose

    Wrapped in Sky

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    1. The Indian Song
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    1. Around the Block Again
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    Released March 28, 1989, recorded at Soundscape Studios, Atlanta, Georgia. Produced by Scott MacPherson, Kevn Kinney,

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    1. Ain’t it Strange
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    3. Honeysuckle Blue
    4. With the People
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    6. House for Sale
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    1. The Whisper Tames the Lion
    2. Catch the Wind
    3. Powerhouse
    4. The Friend Song
    5. On a Clear Daze
    6. Ridin’ on the Soul Road
    7. Can’t Promise You the World
    8. Livin’ by the Book
    9. Good Day Every Day
    10. Legal Gun
    11. Check Your Tears at the Door
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    2. Keys to Me
    3. Another Scarlet Butterfly
    4. You Mean Everything
    5. Saddle on the Side of the Road
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    9. Bring Home the Bacon
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