Review: Drivin N Cryin // "Too Late To Turn Back Now!" // New West Records

Drivin’ N Cryin’

Eponymously released in 1997, Too Late To Turn Back Now! has been released on vinyl for the first time, and it documents a period of change from the Atlanta-based rockers. As leader Kevn Kinney relates, this era “…is who I am. Gone are the major labels. Gone are the tour buses.” So instead of big studios (and big bills) Drivin’ N Cryin’ – at this point a trio with Kinney on vocals and guitars, Jeff Sullivan on drums and bassist Tim Nielsen – encamped in a hot, small studio in Atlanta’s hip mecca of Little Five Points with Clash producer and video artist Kosmo Vinyl, intending to record a single. One thing led to another, and soon, they had an album’s worth of material.

And good stuff too. Opening with “Keepin’ It Close To My Heart”, Kinney’s endearing knack of creating arena-rock folk songs triumphs, and the record’s 12 tracks are full of punky energy (“Paid in Full”, Let Lenny B”), Byrdish odes (“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”) and a faithful rip thru John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane”, and like most of Kinney’s best material you’d be at a loss to pinpoint the year.

While not reaching the heights of earlier work such as Mystery Road or Fly Me CourageousToo Late To Turn Back Now! deserved a better fate than some forgotten shelf in a used CD store, and now with a new title and cover art (by Kosmo Vinyl), and a great-sounding vinyl edition, it joins Drivin’ N Cryin’s solid discography, further illustrating how this little band from Atlanta has survived and persevered all these years – with great songs, catchy hooks and a lot of heart. Long may Drivin’ N Cryin’ reign!

By James Mann, Ink 19,

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The best and the brightest: A taste of 12 Georgia-made IPAs, pale ales

Picking the best Georgia-made IPAs and PAs readily available at bars and package stores in metro Atlanta wasn’t an easy task — though the continuing demand for Creature Comforts Tropicalia, Scofflaw Basement and SweetWater 420 made them obvious choices. The other nine are a combination of the new, the highly rated, and some popular beers I like to drink. As always, your mileage may vary.

Burnt Hickory Drivin N Cryin IPA — From a brewery known for big beers, this easy-drinking session IPA was first released in tribute to the long-running Atlanta band. At 5 percent, unfiltered, dry-hopped, and golden, it hits all the right notes.

June 27, 2018
By Bob Townsend, For the AJC
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Supersuckers/Drivin N Cryin - Live in Grand Rapids (Cover Artwork)


Supersuckers / Drivin N Cryin

Live in Grand Rapids (2018)

It was an interesting combination of bands. Headlining was the self proclaimed Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World. Sandwiched in the middle of the bill was a band that had a huge radio hit in the early 90’s. Opening was a local hardcore favorite. I had seen Supersuckers a handful of times, and always enjoyed them. I had never seen Drivin N Cryin, so there was a certain level of intrigue there. I doubt there was a band I saw more times last year than Westside Rebellion, but this was only going to be the second time in 2018. The show went down at The Stache in downtown Grand Rapids on Thursday, March 29th.

Local hardcore degenerates Westside Rebellion went on promptly at 8:00 and played a blistering 25 minute set. They tore through all five songs from their debut EP, and even threw in a couple of brand new songs. The new tunes had a definite thrash/hardcore vibe, and I was glad to hear some fresh material from these guys. They were also pelted in beer cans. I couldn’t help but wonder how the ‘professional’ bands felt about having their equipment soaked in PBR. I don’t know if it bothered them, but they never said a word. WSR was fun as usual, even if they were a bit aggressive for this lineup.

The first thing I noticed about Drivin N Cryin is that they looked old, especially guitarist/vocalist Kevin Kinney. A closer inspection revealed that he and bassist/backing vocalist Tim Nielsen were older, and the other guitar player and drummer were much younger. Fortunately, Kinney’s distinctive voice is still mostly intact. Although they’re known for a handful of hard rock songs, they’re really a Southern rock band at heart. They broke out a couple of back to back hits really early in the set, including “The Innocent” and an extended jam on their biggest hit, “Fly Me Courageous”. Say what you will about that song, but it has an amazing riff. It’s the type of riff you can build a whole career around. (Plus, the cowbell really popped live.)

Later highlights included “Build a Fire”, “Detroit City” (which name drops a bunch of Michigan bands) and “Straight to Hell”. The thing is, I’m used to watching punk bands play half hour sets. Headliners get maybe an hour. I understand that Drivin N Cryin was co-headlining, but they just kept going and going. I enjoyed them, but I cringed a little bit every time they started a new song after 45 minutes or so. (Talk about first world problems. I got too much entertainment for my money!) I know plenty of people would agree with me, but the band obviously had a lot of fans in the house. By the time their 80 minute set was over, all hope of a decent night’s sleep was lost.

The Stache is the smaller front room of a bigger venue called The Intersection. I’m always fascinated by who’s playing in the 1500 capacity main room while I’m in the 500 cap room. In this case it was Fozzy, the metal band fronted by professional wrestler Chris Jericho. It’s amazing to me that five times as many people were watching Fozzy as Supersuckers. It’s amazing because there are few people on the planet who are as good at writing three minute rock and roll songs as Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti.

Supersuckers took the stage to four new songs that are set to appear on their upcoming record. While new, they had that comfortable, catchy, familiar feel. They were rock and roll songs that also happened to be about rock and roll. After that they went back in their impressive catalog with songs like “Get the Hell”, “Rock-n-Roll Records (Ain’t Selling This Year)” and “Creepy Jackalope Eye”. Since guitarist Dan ‘Thunder’ Bolton left, Supersuckers have been playing as a trio. (Last time I saw them they were still a quartet.) Bassist/vocalist Spaghetti, guitarist ‘Metal’ Marty Chandler and drummer Christopher ‘Chango’ Von Streicher make the power trio thing look easy. They also displayed their typical combination of bravado and self-deprecating humor.

There were a couple of other cool things about the show too. There were quite a few folks there older than me, which is good to see and is getting to be increasingly rare. I also knew lots of people in the crowd and was able to catch up with friends old and new. It was getting late and I kind of wanted to split, but I knew better than to skip Supersuckers’ encore. I stayed for the entire 80 minutes and was rewarded with a few classics. First was ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers”, then “Pretty Fucked Up”, next was Thin Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song”, and finally “Born With a Tail”. It was a damn fine ending to a damn fine (and late) night of rock and roll.

*Footnote: My biggest regret was that I had to work early the next morning, and couldn’t stay out even later. After the show, Supersuckers went to a friend of mine’s house for Bar-B-Q. I suspect I would have really enjoyed eating Bar-B-Q with The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.

REVIEWERTomTraumaMarch 30th 2018

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2018 Luck Reunion: Willie Nelson, Horses and Weed Highlight Austin Festival

Margo Price, Lilly Hiatt, Texas Gentlemen and surprise collaborations make SXSW day trip a can't-miss

Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson were among the highlights at the 2018 Luck Reunion. Gary Miller/Getty Images 

Lilly Hiatt had just led her quartet through a rocked-up set at the seventh annual Luck Reunion, the eclectic festival held at Willie Nelson's Luck Ranch outside of Austin, when she paused to take in her surroundings. She was on the Chapel Stage, a tiny and cozily crowded church with an overflow crowd outside pressed against the windows.

"What a cool thing," Hiatt marveled, nodding at the scene. "We're at Willie’s ranch – Shit!"

Truly, Nelson's world has become one of the coolest hangouts during South by Southwest, the annual mega-festival that draws six-figure mobs to Austin every March. About 3,000 in-the-know attendees make this pilgrimage to Nelson's country spread about 45 minutes from town, to get a slice of the "old" Austin that fell to bulldozers and skyscrapers years ago.

Luck Reunion, produced by Ellee Fletcher, Matt Bizer, Scott Marsh and Nelson's wife Annie, happens on what was originally a movie set, a small town's worth of houses, barns and saloons constructed for the 1986 film version of Nelson's classic mid-Seventies concept album Red Headed Stranger. And with some three-dozen acts playing on four stages over the course of 12 hours, it was impossible not to feel like you were missing something every single moment.

Nelson himself was the main headliner, of course, and he was also tangentially present during the Americana-as-big-tent undercard, which featured plenty of his family and friends. Rising guitar god Lukas Nelson, Willie's 29-year-old son, led his band the Promise of the Real through a set of powerful six-string excursions that evoked the feeling of distant galaxies exploding. And he was preceded by younger brother Micah "Particle Kid" Nelson crooning "Everything Is Bullshit." Meanwhile, Hiss Golden Messenger was playing a quietly lovely acoustic set on a smaller stage just far enough away to not be drowned out.

Bucolic splendor was the order of the day, courtesy of the ruggedly beautiful Texas Hill Country. At the same time Hiatt was playing the Chapel Stage, an acoustic song swap was in progress over at the nearby Revival Tent Stage with Kevn Kinney, Caleb Caudle, Sam Lewis and Courtney Marie Andrews. An inquisitive horse wandered over from a nearby pasture to nose through the fence behind the stage as longtime Drivin' N Cryin' frontman Kinny sang about the "Sun-Tangled Angel Revival."

Other highlights included Margo Price's set in the Chapel, complete with a solo piano reading of her "All American Made"; Nashville's Devon Gilfillian, an old-school soul man with the perfect knack for salting each sweet song with just the right amount of guitar grit; the superhumanly multi-talented Aaron Lee Tasjan, who closed his set with a great guitar duel with cameo guest Kinny; and the high-volume atmospherics of Liz Cooper & the Stampede.

Then there were Texas Gentlemen, the Lone Star State's very own Wrecking Crew and session band for countless Americana-leaning albums. Their "Gents & Dames" program brought up some of the distaff singers they've backed up recently, including Nicole Atkins, Australian singer-songwriter Ruby Boots and Heartless Bastards leader Erika Wennerstrom, for a pointed version of the late great Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money."

Of course, you don't build a lasting empire like Nelson's without tending to the details. A highlight of this year's Luck Reunion was an on-the-bus listening party for Nelson's upcoming album Last Man Standing – which is terrific, equal parts heartfelt and funny, and often both at the same time. But the kicker was that Nelson's organization also used that listening party to unveil the new strain of Willie's Reserve brand marijuana, with a representative passing samples around the bus.

Like the album, it's also called "Last Man Standing."

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The 50 Best Southern Rock Albums of All Time

The 50 Best Southern Rock Albums of All Time

Growing up in Atlanta in the 1970s and ’80s, “Southern rock” meant a very specific thing: long-haired bands like Molly Hatchet, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynrd playing extended guitar solos with enough bluster to pick a fight at any smoky roadhouse. It was part country redneck, part psychedelic hippie, and it dominated the FM radio stations of my childhood (looking at you 96 Rock). By the ’80s, Southern rock meant ZZ Top, Georgia Satellites and The Black Crowes, reviving the guitar licks of their forebears for a new generation. But it was also starting to mean something else. In college towns like Athens, Ga., and Winston-Salem, N.C., a distinct Southern jangle was emerging, mixing the post-punk of New York, the pop of Big Star, and the roots music that bands like R.E.M., Let’s Active and The dB’s were weaned on. The branches of Southern rock began to creep outward. Today, “Southern rock” means everything from the earthy synths of My Morning Jacket to the future soul of The Alabama Shakes.

But the origins origins of rock in the South also go back much further than Duane Allman playing guitar for the R&B hitmakers at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals in the 1960s. Bo Diddley, Little Richard and Fats Domino were among the first musicians to put Southern cities on the rock ‘n’ roll map. They were quickly followed by Southern icons at Memphis’s Sun Studio like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, whose early singles were as much rockabilly as country.

So when we compiled the 50 Best Southern Rock Albums of All Time, we made sure the results were a little broader than the usual suspects. As long as the music was undoubtedly Southern (from Texas to the Carolinas, Kentucky to north Florida) and undoubtedly rock, it was on the table. That meant bands like The B-52’s and Of Montreal, who could have come from Mars, aren’t included. And bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Little Feat, who sound Southern but have no claim to these lands, are also absent. But the inclusion of early rock albums and modern torchbearers like Drive-By Truckers also means we didn’t have room for some roots rock standards like Atlanta Rhythm Section, Boz Scaggs and Dixie Dregs, which you’ll find on most every other list.

What follows are the Best Southern rock albums as voted by Paste’s music editors and writers, after long debates on what should qualify. As always for these lists, we limit each act to two albums. We think this approach results in a more interesting list, celebrating all of the South’s contributions to rock ’n’ roll. And you can tell us what we missed on our Facebook page.

Here are the 50 Best Southern Rock Albums of All Time:


39. Drivin’ n’ Cryin’: Mystery Road (1989)

Though it might have lacked the punk freedom of their first two albums, Scarred But Smarter and Whisper Tames the LionMystery Road is where the Atlanta rock band fully embraced their Southern roots for a more unforgettable sound. Starting with the fiddles on “Ain’t It Strange” and Southern crunching guitars of “Toy Never Played With” to the Red Clay power-ballad “Honeysuckle Blue” and culminating in the bad-boy anthem “Straight to Hell,” this was the pinnacle of Southern rock in the late 1980s. Even R.E.M.’s Peter Buck showed up to play some dulcimer. Kevn Kinney was a folk troubadour at heart, but bassist Tim Nielsen, guitarist Buren Fowler and drummer Jeff Sullivan all added more than a touch of Allman Brothers and Skynyrd influence to the point that follow-up Fly Me Courageoushad the band touring in leather and playing arena rock. But on this album, the balance between punk beginnings, country leanings and ’70s Southern FM radio adoration was just about perfect. —Josh Jackson


By Josh Jackson & Paste Music Staff  |  February 26, 2018  |  10:19am


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Drivin' N Cryin' Rock In Birmingham Once Again

Drivin' N Cryin' Rock In Birmingham Once Again

February 23, 2018

Drivin' N Cryin' have been performing together since 1985. In that time, the Atlanta based band has played Birmingham, Alabama numerous times. The group added another trip to the Magic City to their history on February 22nd as they performed to a good crowd at Saturn Birmingham.

Even after all these years of coming to Birmingham and playing shows, this was my first experience actually seeing Drivin' N Cryin' on stage. They definitely put on a fun show, and it was easy to see why they've collected such a devout group of fans over the years. They put on a no-frills and straight forward rock and roll show that is appreciated by their audience.

More information about Drivin' N Cryin' can be found by visiting their OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

Images are property of DSmithScenes. Do not use without prior approval.

Drivin' N Cryin' perform in concert at Saturn Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama on February 22nd, 2018. (Photo by David A. Smith/DSmithScenes)

Drivin N Cryin Perform at Macon’s Hargray Capitol Theatre

Drivin N Cryin
Drivin N Cryin

Drivin N Cryin performed at the Hargray Capitol Theatre in Macon, GA this past Thursday. Along with them was upcoming country artist Caleb Caudle.

Since 1985, Drivin N Cryin have been playing their music live on stage and drawing substantial crowds during their tours across the USA. Not only do they have ten albums under their belt, one of which went gold, they’ve also had a documentary produced about them and were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. That is a great run for Drivin N Cryin during their past 32 years making music and today, they are still going strong.

There have been multiple lineup changes over the years but two constants remain, Kevn Kinney (vocals) and Tim Nielson (bass). In addition to the two founding members, Laur Joamets (guitar) and Dave Johnson (drums) make up the other part of the band. Here in the South, Drivin N Cryinis a household name and their fans love them.

Opening the show was Caleb Caudle, an up and coming artist from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Caleb Caudle has released multiple albums and even though his name is not well-known yet, Rolling Stone has recently placed him on their “List of 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know”. I’d say that is a fantastic achievement for any upcoming artist today.

Caudle’s voice has a bit of a rough edge to it which I found rather appealing. The crowd at the show began to gather during his set and take interest in him as well. I was glad to see him getting a positive response from the audience. It can be a bit bumpy at times for the opening performers. Throughout his set, he sang many songs from his various albums including “Anne Marie”“Carolina Ghost”“Tuscaloosa”“White Doves Wing”“N.Y.C. in the Rain” which he wrote in New York City while in the rain and his new song, “Love That’s Wild”. During his set he also sang a cover of Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me”.

There is no doubt that Caleb Caudle is talented and is headed for great things in his career. At the end of his set he thanked everyone and gave a shout out to our local radio station, The Creek FM 100.9, for playing his tunes. We give Caleb Caudle a big thumbs up to for starting the night off with a solid performance. Make sure to check out his new album, ‘Crushed Coins’, which is set for release on February 23, 2018.

The Hargray Capitol Theatre is a small venue, so the fans were treated to a relatively intimate show. The crowd cheered and clapped as each member of Drivin N Cryin walked out onto the stage. The audience were gathered closely around the stage. Many of the fans at the show were obviously die-hard fans and would come see them perform come hell or high water.

The fans sang along to each song and danced in place as each song was performed. Song after song, the fans did not falter. They continued to boast out each lyric as they cheered and praised the band with beer bottle filled hands held high in the air.

The connection between the band and their audience was as if the band knew each person in the crowd personally, as if there was an independent, personal connection with each and every soul standing before them. They did not speak individually to everyone. It was how they played, as if they were in the presence of their friends.  They jammed like they could have been playing in someone’s basement or garage. Between the songs there were extensive instrumental breaks and guitar solos. They even gave the crowd a small sample of dueling banjos.

Throughout their career, Drivin N Cryin have produced many amazing songs and Thursday night we were graced with the some of the best hits including “Honeysuckle Blue”“Can’t Promise You the World”“Scarred but Smarter”“Jesus Christ”“Fly Me Courageous”“R.E.M.” and “Let’s Go Dancing”. For the first time ever on a live stage, they also performed their new song “Step by Step”. I am certain by the reaction of the crowd that this song will also become a fan favorite.

At the end of the night, their merchandise manager joined the band on stage with his ukulele as they played “Straight to Hell”, which is always a fan favorite. The crowd chimed in heavily during this song, like it was their anthem. It was light hearted and fun from start to finish. Even though I expected a bit of rowdiness to come from the audience during the show, it was quite mellow and laid back. Everyone just enjoyed the show.

By Leslie Elder Rogers


Drivin’ n’ Cryin’: Mystery Road [Expanded Edition] (Island/UMe)

In what hopefully kicks off the first of several expanded edition albums from Drivin’ n’ Cryin’, Island Records and UMe have recently re-released ‘Mystery Road; (on vinyl and CD), with seven demos tacked onto the classic record. Curiously, the re-release started with the band’s third album, 1991’s ‘Fly Me Courageous,’ though arguable one of their best. Criminally underrated as a group during their initial run in the 1980s and early ‘90s, ‘Mystery Road’ tracks “Honeysuckle Blue” and “Straight To Hell” did manage to get a little love from college radio in 1989. The demos on this re-release were all produced by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, more proof that Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ was just about every Georgia rocker’s favorite band at the time.

For demos, the songs on this re-release are not that far removed from the final product which ended up on the official record, with most being fully formed by this stage. Of the crop, “Honey Suckle Blue” probably sounds the most different as the guitars drop back once Kevn Kinney starts singing (the final version admittedly ends up sounding better). There are also several demos here that never made it on the album like “1988,” probably the weakest tack; The mellow, folky “Not Afraid to Die,” a great song that surprisingly never made it onto a studio album; and the album closer, the somber “Mountaintop,” another solid track which was homeless until now. “MacDougal Blues” never made it onto a Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ record, but ended up being the title track from Kinney’s solo debut the following year.

Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ deftly combined punk, folk, Southern rock and country long before many other more successful bands that came out later ever thought of blending the genres, so it’s great to see their remarkable catalog finally getting another shot. I hope this is just the beginning to more deluxe reissues to come out.

NOVEMBER 3, 2017



Reissued '89 "Mystery Road" LP by Drivin' N' Cryin' includes unreleased demos

My original, 1989 CD of Drivin' N' Cryin's "Mystery Road," alongside the new, double-LP reissue.
ALBUM REVIEW: Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ – Mystery Road reissue (Island Records / Ume) 2017 /1989
It was because of my intense love of the Athens, Ga. band R.E.M. that I first took notice of fellow Georgians, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, as the reviews of their third album, Mystery Road, began getting positive reviews in the spring and summer of 1989, and R.E.M.’s guitarist Peter Buck was noted as being involved in the recording.As it turned out, Buck was a big fan of the four-piece band based in nearby Atlanta. He admired their ability to meld different styles – blues, folk-rock, roots-rock, hard-rock, punk-rock – into a cohesive whole, while writing and recording songs to “drive” by and to “cry” by.Singer/songwriter/guitarist Kevn Kinney – a favorite of me and my college buddies in the early 90’s, particularly with his solo, acoustic MacDougal Blues record (1990) and Drivin’ N’ Cryin’s breakthrough smash, Fly Me Courageous (1991), which appealed to the hard rock fans out there.Joining Kinney on this recording were bassist Tim Nielsen, drummer Jeff Sullivan and guitarist/dobro player Buren Fowler who had been R.E.M.’s guitar tech before joining the band. Fowler died in 2014 at the age of 54.So, after 1988’s critically-acclaimed Whisper Tames the Lion, Buck (busy recording Green with R.E.M. at that time) agreed to produce the follow-up, which would become Mystery Road, recording a bunch of demos in Athens, before the record label insisted a more focused producer, Scott MacPherson, needed to be brought on board and get the album out on time.Of course the best song and the best known Mystery Road track is the barroom singalong “Straight to Hell,” which was just covered by former Hootie & The Blowfish singer Darius Rucker, who now has a successful, mainstream country music career. Rucker recorded the song with fellow country stars Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum singer Charles Kelley.The backstory to "Straight to Hell," was noted this summer in The American Songwriter, with writer Jim Beviglia writing that the song's lyrics, about a latchkey kid whose mom is dating again, but in circumstances not approved of by mom ...: "It’s not a pretty story, but it’s strikingly honest about how a messed-up family can sometimes bond its members, for better and worse, even tighter than a happy one. “Straight To Hell” is a classic, certainly more Cryin’ than Drivin’. More than anything else, however, it’s endurin’, and that’s what really counts."It is "endurin'" for sure.Even nearly 30 years later, Mystery Road’s influence is still felt and appreciated (look at younger bands like Old 97’s and Drive-By Truckers, for instance), which makes sense that the reissue happens now, hopefully exposing a new generation to the Southern rock band’s distinctive sound. I mean, just listen to the plaintive country-folk of “Peacemaker,” only to be followed by the hard-rock jam of “You Don’t Know Me.” It’s proof of how talented they were, how they were not willing to be pigeonholed in an entertainment environment that thrived on conformity.And you know the Island Records executives freaked when they heard the first song on side 1 – the uncommercial and fiddle-heavy “Ain’t It Strange,” with Fowler’s Twilight Zone-theme guitar line. I’m glad the band insisted on the number kicking off Mystery Road.And then, with track two, “Toy Never Played With,” listeners unfamiliar with Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ were likely floored that this Southern “country” band could do a balls-to-the-wall number bringing to mind AC/DC or Aerosmith rather than Lynyrd Skynryd or the Allman Brothers Band. Again, Fowler shreds here, as Nielsen’s bass lines thud along, propelled by Sullivan’s thundering drums. Thunderstruck, indeed!And Kinney and the boys stuck to their guns after all these years, still touring as always and recording when they can, as I noted in 2010 with my review of The Great American Bubble Factory.And so all these years I’ve had the standard, Island Records CD version of Mystery Road. But, the Buck-produced demos are featured on this expanded edition, a double LP featuring the original and remastered album, with a disc of eight of the Buck-produced demos which the former R.E.M. guitarist (who contributes electric dulcimer to the record) called the songs recorded at that time, in 1988, “loose” with a “great feel.” A year later, Buck and his band would invite Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ to open up for them on certain dates on their Green World Tour.It’s very exciting for me, all these years later, to finally get to hear the material Peter Buck worked with alongside the band, sensing where they were going, as we hear on a song like the Life's Rich Pageant-esque "Honeysuckle Blue," that appears in final form on the original recording, but the earlier, demo version is a more rockin' affair with new lyrics and the trademark Kinney-styled "wa-ho-ho" repeated.And while sides 3 and 4 feature the demos, these are not stripped-down, acoustic versions of the songs the band would ultimately released. For the most part they are fully-fleshed out songs in the hard rock variety. Like "1988," a song that has an almost underground hard rock sensibility.One of those previously unreleased songs in the demo pile is “Mystery Road,” which oddly didn’t make the cut to appear on the album that shares its name. It's a great, rootsy song with an Americana flavor that would have fit well on the original recording, as would have the uptempo folk of "MacDougal Blues," although that one was featured on Kinneys' solo record the following year."Not Afraid to Die" is an example of Kinney's love of acoustic folk ballads. And while he is a native Midwesterner, Kinney's adopted, kudzu-choked homeland of the Deep South channels through him on songs like "Not Afraid to Die," which does ultimately appear on MacDougal Blues, the folk album Island Records promised Kinney he could make if he would leave the "folk shit" off of the next Drivin' N' Cryin' album, which was the smashFly Me Courageous.Ending the demo disc, on side four, is Kinney's Dylan-esque "Mountaintop," with mandolin likely being played by Peter Buck. A fine ending to the demo portion of the Mystery Road reissue.All in all, this new rerelease of a 28-year old album from Drivin' N' Cryin' is refreshing, primarily because we get to hear a band really starting to take off and become the band that refuses to throw in the towel all these years later. And hearing the unreleased demos is a treat for a longtime fan, who finally gets to hear the song "Mystery Road."

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ bring the heart of America to the Sahara

“Thank you for coming out to our South by Southwest performance,” band leader Kevn Kinney joked a few songs into Tuesday’s Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ show at the Sahara Lounge. “We’re a little late, but we got stuck in traffic for four months.” They were worth any wait, as it turned out. The Atlanta rockers have visited Austin during SXSW on several occasions in recent years, but Kinney said later that it had been a long time since the band had played a full-on rock show here outside of those mid-March truncated showcases.

It’s hard to imagine how or why. In the sweltering heat of mid-July, crammed onto the small stage at the non-air-conditioned Sahara, Kinney and his bandmates blazed through two and a half hours of triumphant American rock ‘n’ roll, reaffirming that they remain as vital in 2016 as when they burst on the scene 30 years ago with their lightning-bolt debut album “Scarred But Smarter.”

Drivin' N' Cryin' at the Sahara Lounge on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Photo by Peter Blackstock

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ at the Sahara Lounge on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Photo by Peter Blackstock

Tucked into deep east Austin on Webberville Road just barely inside Highway 183, the Sahara is a charmingly funky joint, with a rambling back patio and a rough gravel parking lot. Its eclectic bookings touch on everything from African and Cuban music to punk rock and jazz.

Kinney and his mates have shown up here before during SXSW, leading to this two-night stand that concludes Wednesday with another 9:30 p.m. show ($10 admission). If it seemed an unlikely locale for a band that once headlined Liberty Lunch and played arenas opening for R.E.M., it quickly became clear that the band was quite comfortable and in its element at the Sahara.

Kinney’s magic is much like that of Texas treasure Alejandro Escovedo, in that he can rock the house ferociously one minute and lovingly the next, trading a full-band explosion for an acoustic guitar. He pushed the needle well into the red for the first hour, and with good reason: At his right was a ringer of a lead guitarist in Warner Hodges, whose work with Nashville country-punkers Jason & the Scorchers is legendary.

Vitally important to the Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ sound is co-founding bassist Tim Nielsen, who frequently complements Kinney’s keening lead vocals with perfectly sympathetic harmonies. Add powerful drummer Dave V. Johnson behind them, and the foursome quickly served notice that this would be one of the year’s most memorable club shows. Hodges’ incendiary playing propelled intense numbers such as “The Innocent” and “You Don’t Know Me,” culminating in the heavy blues burner “Honeysuckle Blue.”

When Kinney did shift gears and reach for the acoustic, it opened a window on why he’s such a special songwriter. Longtime fan favorites “You Mean Everything” and “Let’s Go Dancing” pulled the band from tough to tender; better still was “With the People,” an uplifting ballad that rang out loud and clear as the Republican National Convention was in full swing. On this night, DNC trumped the RNC.

From there, it was a full-force drive heading “Straight to Hell,” Kinney’s best-known song and one that’s far more cheerful and life-affirming than its title would suggest. Austin’s Bonnie Whitmore, who recorded one of Kinney’s songs on her soon-to-be-released album, joined in onstage, and by the end, the entire audience was singing along.

The denouement was, somehow, even more moving. Hodges took center stage for a blazing Jason & the Scorchers number co-written by the late Scorchers drummer Perry Baggs. Kinney returned, acoustic in hand, for the beautifully rambling epic “Good Country Mile,” which I once suggested is his finest song. The way he silenced the room with it on this night lent credence to that notion.

By Peter Blackstock

July 20, 2016

"Still creating vital, powerful music." Ink 19 Reviews 'Turntable'

Atlanta's Kevn Kinney and Drivin' N Cryin' have weathered the ups and downs of the music business since the mid-'80s with their mix of hard rock, southern-style boogie, a heap of punk attitude, topped off with Kinney's love of lo-fi garage rock. The last year has seen them release 4 EPs (Songs From The LaundromatSongs About CarsSpace and The Ramones,Songs From the Psychedelic Time Clock) and this last release,Songs For The Turntable might be the best one yet. Recalling the glory days of 1990's Mystery Road and Fly Me Courageous from 1991, this is DnC playing to their strengths -- soaring anthems, snaky hooks and gorgeous guitars. "Strangers" starts the five cut EP off in a more roughened Bongos/Paisley Underground sort of sound, with chiming guitars a la R.E.M. or The Feelies. Next up is "Turn", and this is primo Drivin' N Cryin' -- walls of rafter-raising guitar and Kinney's laconic vocals reminding you of past successes such as Mystery Road's "Honeysuckle Blue" or the title cut from Fly Me Courageous -- full of swagger and spit, just begging for an arena crowd sing-a-long. "Roll Away The Song" is a memoir in 4/4 time: "I had a lot of dreams / Most came true / I sang a lot of songs / Most for you" before getting to some of those aforementioned hooks, and not many people can craft a catchy guitar part like Kinney. "Jesus Christ" ends the record with Drivin' N Cryin' in your face, slashing guitars framing angry vocals, with a clever cop of the Stones "woo woo's" from "Sympathy for the Devil" on the chorus. It's as if the last 20 years hadn't occurred and the band is just starting out, full of rambunctious energy and so much to say. How many bands of this vintage can still say that?

Drivin' N Cryin' have kept the indie rock flame burning bright for all these years, and while they aren't the darlings of the arena circuit as they were in the day, Kevn Kinney's vision and songwriting haven't wavered a bit -- still pushing forward, not resting on their past, still creating vital, powerful music. Songs For The Turntable bodes well for another 20 years of Drivin' N Cryin'...and that ain't so bad.

by James Mann for Ink 19

‘Songs for the Turntable’ brings it all home for the DNC fans

Innocent Words Magazine Reviews 'Songs For The Turntable' By Paul Barrel January 23, 2014

With their fourth and final release created under the business model that they would issue shorter EPs over a period of months versus a longer release that could take years to reach the market, Drivin N Cryin has hit a home run. ‘Songs for the Turntable’ marks a significant return to its unique form of mixing rock, Americana and folk into a seamless sound that can only be called the ‘Drivin N Cryin Sound.’

“I was writing in the morning and my wife was listening to a record,” said singer/guitarist/songwriter Kevin Kinney. “She said I should record that song and I said ‘well, I did.’ It was the last song on the last record! It dawned on me then that most people that listen to records don’t usually listen past five or six songs, so I’m going to make a record with only five or six songs on it. In fact, I’m going to do four… Or five… Or maybe the rest of them this way!!!! This solves a lot of problems for drivin n cryin.”

The first three EPs were enjoyable as well; focusing on different periods in the bands’ history: Southern jangle, punk and psychedelic. All are worthy of your listening time. However, ‘Songs for the Turntable’ brings it all home for the DNC fans. The five songs on the EP take you back classic recordings and feature huge guitar-laden hooks, memorable melodies and reflective lyrics. Plus, it features the band at its tightest. This is a welcome spin for a Saturday night pick up me or as a friendly welcome on a Sunday morning. That’s the thing about DNC, their music seems to transcend time of day or day of the week. It’s good anytime.

- See more at:

"This is an honest film about fame, commerce and art in America."

Indie Music Reviews Scarred But Smarter (life n times of drivin n cryin) by J. Rivera

“You don’t fit in anywhere.” says Kevin Kinney about his band, Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ and its considerable legacy. What started off as a two month project bloomed into a three year journey for Atlanta’s Regular Guys radio show host Eric Von Haessler turned documentary filmmaker as followed DNC around.

The short version of this film is why aren’t DNC more famous than they are? How much of this was self sabotage or that the masses never truly got hip to band that was hard to categorize?

Yes they had their big moment in the sun, Fly Me Courageous, but that blew over pretty quickly, and no one bought the next album, Smoke.

Some of the more revealing details of the film is that a band so identified with Atlanta, a band that has kudzu practically growing all over it, the origins come from Milwaukee, Kevin Kinney’s Home town.

Sick of shoveling snow and dreaming of Flipper, he headed south, but never made it to the coast.

We also find out that the record label tried to make Kinney go to a dentist, to fix his unique smile, and that he ended up having a strange connection to Jeffrey Dahmer.

“Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ got exactly what they had coming to them; fame and no fame, fortune and no fortune,” admits Kinney.

Mystery Road is their widely acknowledged masterpiece, that confounded categorization. It was country, but it was folk, but it had punk, and it had “Straight to Hell” on it, the song that closed a thousand bars. A pure bit of genius, most people didn’t know what to do with it.

“Kevin’s a folkie at heart who just happens to love The Ramones.” someone rightfully claims about him during the film. There’s interviews with Peter Buck of REM, Darius Rucker, Cracker’s David Lowery, and Collective Soul’s Ed Roland, all properly acknowledging the brilliance of Kinney’s songwriting. Kinney throughout talks about always doubting himself every step of the way and often feeling on the verge of a nervous break down.

Scarred but Smarter’ is named after the band’s 1986 debut LP and thankfully Haessler avoids any poor, poor me, sentiments from the bands repeated misfortunes. He’s put together a well paced collection of videos and interviews with current and former members as well as friend and acquaintances of the band.

This is an honest film about fame, commerce and art in America. Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ are famous enough to have a fan base that adores them and continues to support them as they slog across the endless miles of the American Highways. But not so famous that it’s easy or there’s tons of money, or that they’re a household name. So they have to work. And it’s o-k, because Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ are really good at what they do, and seem to get better with every passing year.

The Examiner Reviews 'Scarred But Smarter' and Talks To EVH

Film me courageous: Atlanta's Drivin' 'n' Cryin' rejoiced in rockumentary

by Jeremy Kennedy for The Examiner

Film me courageous: Atlanta's Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ rejoiced in radio celebrity’s rockumentary

Every town has that one band that they claim as their own. Whether stardom is defined as a gold record, sell-out shows at the local tavern, or a once-in-a-lifetime performance on a nationally broadcast late night show, they have risen above the status quo to become the local superstars of their day. Setting the baseline at levels nearly unachievable for those that dare to mimic their designation, they will always remain in the upper echelon of historical importance no matter who threatens to conquer their throne of talent.

Although the 1970s are really credited as the decade when grass rooted rock legacies were born in the U.S.A., very few of those successes remained grounded in their hometowns and transplanted their fame nationally. Bands like Chicago, Steely Dan, and Grand Funk Railroad certainly pinned their hearts to the locals that believed they were the best, but the fame and fortune of global triumph lured the prominent away to bigger cities with faster cars, and a thirst that never seemed to quench with opportunities. KISS may have been from Amityville, but we all know which city they own.

In the Eighties, the fever of musical boundless creativity was born. The inspired zeal of antirational enthusiasm went viral, even in the Bible-belted Southeast. While the region’s most quintessential bands Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers were never truly intimidated by the era of American punk, power-pop and new wave, their crowns were rattled a bit as society began to recognize a fresh league of bands on the horizon, influenced by the unconventional Ramones, Talking Heads, and the Velvet Underground. Whereas Skynyrd and the Allmans would forever be enshrined in the beer busting billiard bars, a young breed of southern art rockers began stimulating energies of aggression in the form of noise-rock. Paying their dues in some of the most unventilated night club dungeons hidden deep in the downtown alleyways of some of the South’s most industrial cities, the stages were small, the crowds were irritable and the music was loud. And like every generation, young adults reach out to claim something for their own. In Raleigh, the Connells were jangle-popping contagious, southern melodies while in nearby Winston-Salem, the dB’s were accumulating a massive following regionally underneath the Mason-Dixon Line. Of course, everyone knows what was going down in Athens, but what about Atlanta?

Perhaps no one can answer that question more prolifically than The Regular Guys morning show host Eric Von Haessler (WNNX). Haessler, who ironically spent the 1980s outside of Georgia, has recently made his film producing debut, chronicling the beginnings of Atlanta’s homegrown rockers, Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ in an extraordinary attempt to arrest the band’s fruitful beginnings while confronting the frustrations over failures of fame in spite of the longstanding gratitude they hold with their fans in the Deep South.

Haessler’s film, ‘Scarred but Smarter’ (named after the band’s 1986 debut LP) is a compelling collection of raw video, testimonial interviews, concert clips, and monologues of the band’s fluctuating, archived and current members. As with any rockumentary, it’s not a highway joyride, but it is certainly highly entertaining. Candid yet cleverly crafted, Haessler, who lead vocalist / founder Kevn Kinney described as “clueless to (who) we were” when interviewed for the first time some 20 years ago by the afternoon jockey in the former macho studio of 96-Rock, completed the 3-year project after financing the majority of the project himself.

Selling out the classically lo-fi convenience of the Plaza Theatre, Haessler acknowledged that he wasn’t certain why he gravitated to this laborious endeavor. “I can’t tell you why I felt like I should tell their story,” he said to a packed audience of Cryin’ fans and Regular Guys followers, “but when you feel this strong about something, you can’t let it rest.”

Although the Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ anthology isn’t absolute, twenty-five years of sex, drugs and rock and roll does provide plenty of gripping material and profound content, ideal for a filmmaker making his production debut in a competitive world where everyone is virtually a movie maker to some degree.

On the heels of the smashing evening of the film’s debut, the author caught up with this Regular Guy to explore the mind of a Yankee observer to uncover the challenges, celebrations, and confessions of the South’s most popularly underrated band of all-time, Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’.

1) JK: Well Eric, it’s finally arrived. How does it feel to finally debut this film publically? What has been the greatest reward from your efforts so far?

EVH: I feel a sense of relief. It took me three years to make the movie and to finally be able to share it with audiences is fun. I thought of it as an experiment. There isn't a more independent film out there. I wanted to see if I could create something that had cinematic sweep on my desktop computer. I financed it myself and made it on my desktop Mac. Not even a tower- just a store bought Mac and Final Cut Pro 7. So to see it work for audiences in a theater setting was a reward I wasn't expecting. But it made everything we'd done over three years worth it.

2) JK: Without the modesty, it is undeniable that you’ve rekindled great interest in Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ again. Seeing nearly all of the band’s former members, including drummer Jeff Sullivan, reunited for one special event like this must leave you with a sense of pride. Did you ever imagine that you’d have so much cooperation from all the present and past members of the band, including those that had been fired but not forgotten along the career path when you decided to engage in this endeavor? Did you receive complete participation from everyone you reached out to?

EVH:Every current and past member of the band was thoroughly cooperative. All gave candid interviews and bent their schedules to one degree or another to accommodate the movie. I was lucky because there are so many colorful characters around the band who were very open with us as well. I let them all know from the beginning that I planned to snoop around in some uncomfortable places- and everyone eventually just opened up. It's a movie full of people speaking their minds and I think that was the biggest payoff from the access granted. I tried not to abuse it or turn it into a reality show type of thing when following them with cameras. They are an honest and true band and this movie had to be honest and true to have any chance of capturing what they're about. After a couple years everyone got relaxed enough to tell the truth.

3) JK: ‘Scarred but Smarter’ is complimented with testimonies by several of the Southeast’s most important rock icons, including Peter Buck, Darius Rucker, and Edwin McCain. As an amateur filmmaker, were you met with any red-tape challenges of getting them on board to contribute to your project?

EVH: I was lucky to have Scott Munn helping me out. Scott's tour managing for Blackberry Smoke right now- but he used to tour manage for Kevn (solo) and Drivin n Cryin. He began helping me in early 2011. He hooked me up with Peter, Darius, & Edwin. He also conducted two of those interviews and had a great deal to do with keeping continuity with certain themes that run throughout the movie. Randy Blazak was the band's first manager and now lives in Portland.Peter Buck had agreed to an interview but wasn't going to be in Georgia within my time frame so I rented equipment in Portland, had Randy pick it up, turn the camera on himself for an interview (questions submitted by email)- then take the equipment up to Seattle and conduct the interview with Peter at his office. Randy did a great job and Peter's interview was a gift to the project. I didn't know what to expect but he gave us a compelling interview, full of detail and honest emotion.

Darius Rucker was very accomodating- sitting down for an interview just one day home from a European tour, and just before the start of a charity golf tournament. And Edwin McCain just lit up during his interview. He's a huge fan of Drivin n Cryin. We also got a lot of great stuff out of Fred LeBlanc from Cowboy Mouth.He ends up kind of being the George Will of the piece.

4) JK: Like the best of Eighties music-documentaries, one of your film’s strengths is that you escort the viewer through the band’s previous incarnations The Prosecutors and later the Nightporters. Were you just as surprised as viewers to learn that some members of Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ were actively engaged in post-punk? How rare is that video footage and how did you obtain it?

EVH: It is probably a surprise to most people that Drivin n Cryin is a punk rock band. They have many styles, maybe too many for their own good, but the beating heart at the center of the band is punk rock… the punk ethic. Both Kevn and Tim were in great punk rock bands before they met in Atlanta to form DNC and it was a mutual love of that music that brought them together.

The footage of Kevn fronting The Prosecutors is from a film they made about themselves back in the early 80's. It's awesome footage. I'm sure many people are surprised to see the future singer of Straight To Hell screaming his way through the Prosecutors song Brute Force. But that's who he still is today. He's more like that person screaming into a microphone than the Americana image that surrounds him. One of the cool things in the movie- though I never draw attention to it- is that the red Mosrite Kevn is playing in that old Prosecutors footage is the same guitar he's playing in most of the current live stuff that's in there.

5) JK: One aspect of your film that stands out almost subliminally is that you don’t actively narrate the film, opting instead to allow monolog conversation to smooth the transition of chapter to chapter. This had to be incredibly painstaking when editing the film. Although you’re one of Atlanta’s most recognizable voices, why did you resist the temptation to narrate this story if you thought it so important?

EVH: In an earlier version of the movie my voice was more prominent. For awhile the edit followed me while I went in search of the story. But Kevn and Tim were interesting and funny enough- the piece didn't need me flitting about like some low-rent Morgan Spurlock. So I decided to lay back and let the band, their friends, and other interested parties tell the story.

I'm glad you mentioned chapter transitions. I think we handle that in interesting ways. We often have, as you said, one person or a montage of people changing the subject as a way to push the story forward. It ended up working better than I thought it would- and hopefully makes it look a bit different from other rock docs.

6) JK: Not only did you lug a video camera around for 3 years, capturing the lives and those related to Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’, but you also produced, edited, directed, and financed this documentary yourself. Which of these roles did you find the most satisfying? What lessons did you learn about film-making that you won’t repeat should you initiate another film project for EVH Productions?

EVH: Lesson #1: Get the money first next time!

I'm lucky enough to have some disposable income but I only have one movie like this in me. The producing role was easy because a producer finds the money- and I found me. So that was one-stop shopping. Directing the live shoots was exhilarating. We often had 8 to 9 cameras going at once. But editing is my favorite part of the process. There are over 900 edits in this movie. This is where it became possible to make something cinematic on my desktop computer. It was the willingness to work for hours and hours getting each edit just right. Editing is rhythm and it's the only part of the process I feel 100% comfortable with. I've never taken an editing class in my life- but I could teach it. It comes natural to me.

7) JK: Your journey with Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ started in 2009. Based on the outcome of the film’s premiere and the revival of the band’s spirit across this city, how much longer will you continue to invest your life to Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’? What other bands’ stories would you like to tell and why?

EVH: I am a certified Drivin n Cryin Super Fan! I have other ideas for them but I think it's best that we get away from each other for awhile before doing anything else professionally.

The personal part is different. These guys have become my friends. I feel like they're my brothers. I joined them at SXSW and just carried guitars from the van to backstage, etc. I love being in the van and being part of the team for brief periods of time. They humor me & let me participate every once in awhile- and it's fun. But I think we're all friends now- and I don't see that changing.

I think I'm going to be making a music video for someone else very soon. Too soon to announce- but it's probably up next. Then I'd like to make a short film with real actors. That'll be a real challenge for me. I've never worked with actors before so I don't know if I'm any good at it.

8) JK: When an artist is performing, mistakes are sometimes made, hopefully unnoticed, but carried on through recovery. However, when filming, the director has the power of the retake. Did you pursue any retakes? How difficult was it to ‘teach’ members how to behave naturally with the camera on in spite of their local celebrity status?

EVH: I shot over 50 hours of footage for the movie and went back and pulled whatever I needed to push the narrative. If things were botched up it just wasn't used because there was always plenty more footage to pull from. I did do a few later interviews with Kevn where I would ask specific questions that I knew would bridge gaps, or otherwise help pull together the running narrative.

It didn't take long for the band to get comfortable and act natural in front of the camera. These guys are pros. They've seen everything. And the upside of being around them for three years was they couldn't help but be candid. Nobody can keep up a facade for that long.

9) JK: Inarguably, the core of the success of Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ isn’t the musical talent, a heavily funded record label, or a Billboard chart position. Kevn Kinney’s lyrical thumbprints are the nucleus that created, championed, and define this band’s victories. What revelation did you learn about Kinney that you were committed to share with viewers? Was there anything that you didn’t share with us that might be of interest?

My revelation was the depth of the catalog. I don't think enough people realize that this guy has written over a hundred great songs. I didn't expect to be able to swim so deep in that catalog. I use as much of their music as I can on the soundtrack- but we barely scratch the surface.

Kevn's personality is a bit more mercurial than I explore in the movie. I could do a different movie on Kevn that would have very little overlap with this one. Kevn is the real deal in a marketplace of false poets. He lives in his own head a great deal of the time- but also has a very social side. It just depends when you catch him. The band is punk rock but Kevn is a poet. The greatness of the band is forged by the clash of the punk rocker and the peace-loving poet… and it all goes down inside his head. But the whole thing works like a machine that continually produces these great songs. Kevn is writing new, great songs all the time. He has songs he's been writing for twenty years and songs that come to him nearly fully formed. It's remarkable. He sings something new to me nearly every time I see him. There's a lot more that can be said about him. I believe he will eventually get the recognition that's due. The catalog is too good. It simply can't be ignored.

10) JK: Much like the past struggles of Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’, you too are faced with the challenge of marketing your product. What steps do you plan to take to try and recover from your 3-year, lofty investment?

EVH: I did this as an experiment. One part was to see if I could make something cinematic on my desktop computer. The other was to test a "build it and they will come" theory. I didn't begin to think about things like distribution until after the film was done. I said I was going to make an entertaining movie. All I cared about was delivering on that promise. I knew getting it to the marketplace would be a whole different thing. The good news is that since the first public showings people have come forth with help in that area- and hopefully we'll get it to TV, DVD, etc. in a reasonable amount of time. Until then we have plans to take the movie to premiere in a few different cities- with performances by the band perhaps being part of the package.

The Big Takeover Reviews 'Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones'

1.16.2013 by Joseph Kyle

Drivin ‘n’ Cryin’s second of four EPs, Songs About Cars, Space, and the Ramones finds them on the fresh, upbeat jangle-rock kick that was found on the preceding EP, Songs from the Laundromat. Kicking off with “Hot Wheels,” it’s obvious that Kevn Kinney is still a powerful songwriter, and his knack for writing catchy, sometimes “hard” rock songs. The remaining four songs don’t vary terribly much from that formula; “Out Here In The Middle of Nowhere” is a powerful rocker, features the guitar work of Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome, while “Johnny Rides Shotgun” cranks out the punk/metal guitar melodies, and “Space Eyes” rounds out the EP with a bit of a country-punk affair. Like the previous EP, this one only whets the appetite for the third release. Bring it on!

"Pushing play on this CD is like pressing the ignition switch on the Gemini rocket!"

Guitar International Magazine Reviews 'Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones'

By: William Clark

Southern rockers Drivin’ n Cryin’ are back with the second of four

EPs in their magazine subscription-style series, which shows the glam metal Georgia boys blasting through Earth’s atmosphere and into previously uncharted musical frontiers.

Songs About Cars, Space, and the Ramones is one small step for man, one giant leap for fan-kind, as Drivin’ n Cryin’ goes full out punk rock style through 6 brand new chorus chanters.

Pushing play on this CD is like pressing the ignition switch on the Gemini rocket! You’re immediately thrust at top speeds with “Hot Wheels”, which showcases a powerfully harmonized chorus and some enjoyable high school-themed lyrics that should be topping the radio waves.

For the next track, the title says it all: “Acceleration”. This new late-for-work road rage anthem is built around a late 50’s classic rock and roll style riff (think “Johnny B. Goode”) and some quick lyric delivery by lead vocalist Kevn Kinney.

Now for whatever reason, Drivin’ n Cryin’ have the power and talent to pinpoint the major characteristics of a band’s sound and perfectly duplicate it.

Just as the band did with “R.E.M.” on their first EP in the series, Drivin’ n Cryin’ decides to shift ba

ck into tribute mode with “Johnny Rides Shotgun”, a turbocharged tune with a blasting chorus that lyrics that pay respect to the group who are considered by many to be the first rock punk band: The Ramones.

Next up we have “Moonshot”, whose fast paced sound falls directly in line with this album’s pop punk predecessors. “Out Here In The Middle Of Nowhere” shows Drivin n Cryin taking on a sound most similar to that of Green Day, which bombards you with some repetitive yet every bit enjoyable guitar riffs, and also has special guests Cheetah Chrome and Takyah White manning backup vocal duties and a passionate guitar solo.

Falling in last but not least is “Space Eyes”, an engaging instrumental that honestly bears some strong similarities to The Beach Boys’ style of surf rock.

Overall, I have to say that Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones is a fantastic EP that shows Drivin’ n Cryin’ masterfully taking on a punk rock persona, and is so good I honestly wouldn’t mind if the band made a few more albums with this style of sound.

Format: Audio CD

Original Release Date: September 18, 2012

Number of Discs: 1

Label: New! Records


1) Hot Wheels

2) Acceleration

3) Johnny Rides Shotgun

4) Moonshot

5) Out Here In The Middle Of Nowhere (feat.

Cheetah Chrome and Takyah White)

6) Space Eyes


"Blistering... driving, punk-rock fun." Punk Globe Mag Reviews 'SAC,S&R'

By Mary Leary for Punk Globe Magazine
November 1, 2012
Who doesn’t want to hear songs about cars, space, and the Ramones? Especially if they’re written and performed by Kevn Kinney and his crew? Songs about Cars, Space and the Ramones is the second installation in what Kinney’s described as “… five-or six-song recordings every three months, like a magazine subscription.”
Apparently producer Paul Ebersold (Keith Richards, 3 Doors Down) has some affection for Kinney, along with myself and Cheetah Chrome, who makes a guest appearance.
The six-song EP doesn’t disappoint. “Acceleration” is driving, punk-rock fun, with “I’m going 90 miles an hour in a 30-mile zone” in its refrain. It’s followed by the even more blistering attack of “Johnny Rides Shotgun.” “Moonshot” is a rockin’, Ramones/Dead Boys sorta hybrid. And “Out Her

e in the Middle of Nowhere” is teenage angst-ridden in all the right ways, with a few cartoonish surprises (no spoilers here).

The parting gift is a track called “Spaceshot” that oozes with Ventures/”Sleepwalk”-era reverb.
I wonder if these guys are all married. Ah, as almost always, it’s more fun to flirt with them from afar. Which I wish I’d realized a few moons ago, but that’s another story, which occasionally had a happy ending.
Finally, for further proof there is a punk

rock god, here’s footage of DNC with Cheetah, live, doing “Out Here in the

Middle of Nowhere” from the EP:


"Without doubt, this is the band's coming of age."

by Mark S. Tucker for Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange October 27, 2012

Sweet! The second of four DNC (no, good lord!, not the Democratic National Convention but Drivin' N' Cryin') EPs has arrived, following on Songs from the Laundromat (here). As the boyz themselves exclaim, the influences this time around are The

Kinks, The Who, Count Five, The Ramones, and others, and that baseline shows without mercy in Songs about Cars, Space, and the Ramones. Raucous, loud, energetic, and in your face with more than a little shirtsleeve snottiness, the band has found its zone. Catch, for instance, the killer Cars guitar line in Moonshot. Brilliant! Takes the song up a whole 'nother notch in a nasty, dirty, futuristic contrast to the driving grunge of the basic format. Then jump over to the manic lead slipped in by Cheetah Chrome in Out Here in

the Middle of Nowhere, a very Seeds-y

cut. Ah, but the closer, Space Eyes, is a cross between the Ventures and Ronnie Montrose's take on Town without Pity a la Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders, almost Ennio Morricone-esque. The most interesting facet to what may seem to be a jumble of sounds, though, is how damn well DNC makes it all hang together. What they inherited from Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, 'n da Ramones gaggle dovetails cleanly into a driving, rockin', gut level exposition erupting from what has slowly been working into a signature marrying pop to Brit Invasion rokk to punky urgency, the result filling up all the spaces in their evolutionary timeline. Without doubt, this is the band's coming of age.


Some of the band's best songs in over two decades"

Blurt Magazine reviews 'Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones' October 24, 2012

Dormant for way too long, Atlanta's Drivin' N' Cryin' is making up for lost time with a set of four EPs spaced out over a year, each focusing on various musical touchstones throughout their criminally overlooked career. (Seriously, the world can make the dudes in Collective Soul millionaires, but pass over their far more talented neighbors in DNC?)

Long before the term alternative country was coined and before stashing your Hank Williams and Clash vinyls on the same shelf was common practice, Kevn Kinney and the boys were blending their love for country and punk rock, turning in three of the best successive albums to come out of the southeast in the 80's rivaled only by R.E.M. (Scarred But SmarterWhisper Tames the Lion andMystery Road).

Several of the songs off of this, the second of four EPs in this musical experiment (the previous Songs From the Laundromat is the closest DNC have come to recapturing the ambition of those first three records.  "Hot Wheels," "Acceleration" and, to a slightly lesser extent, "Moonshot" are some of the band's best songs in over two decades. "Out Here in the Middle of Nowhere," featuring punk legend Cheetah Chrome on guitar and backing vocals is oddly enough the low point of the EP. The powerful closing instrumental track "Space Eyes" makes up for the gaff though.

 Songs From the Garage is next up, so it'll be interesting to see if the band peaked too early by releasing Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones in the middle of their collection, setting the bar too high.