by Don de Leaumont 12/30/10
2010 was quite an eventful year for Drivin’ N Cryin’. Not only did they put out their first new album in nearly 12 years, they also managed to make the best record they’ve made since “Mystery Road” and put on some of the best shows of their career. After being sidelined by a cyst on his larynx, lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Kevn Kinney made a tremendous comeback sounding better than ever and finding the inspiration to write and perform again. Ice, sleet and snow wasn’t enough to keep the fans away from seeing what is always a show not to be missed and this show was no exception.
Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ took the stage to a roar as they opened with “Honeysuckle Blue” from their “Mystery Road” album and without flinching launched right into “Around The Block Again.” Kevn totally forgot the lyrics and with a smirk and a laugh managed to ad-lib his way through the song which didn’t seem to phase the audience one bit. The set contained some fan favorites such as “Scarred But Smarter” and “Can’t Promise You The World” but it was some deeper gems like “Underground Umbrella”, ‘Pre-Approved, Pre-Denied” and the title track from the new album “The Great American Bubble Factory” that I found to be particularly outstanding. “Build A Fire” was the unexpected hit of the night as this one really brought the house down. The band seemed to really be having a great time as Kevn and bassist Tim Nielson joked, poked and prodded each other on stage as images of their past flashed behind them on a screen.
The set was sprinkled with guests that made for a sort of “Last Waltz” vibe which I thought was a really awesome treat. Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee Eddie Kirkland fronted the band for “Georgia Peach” and then stepped aside to take over harmonica duty as the legendary Col. Bruce Hampton joined the band for a face melting “Spoonful” which had everyone dancing and grooving out. “Blues on Top of Blues” was the highlight of the night for me as former Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ guitarist Buren Fowler took the stage to completely own the night. Lead guitarist Mac Carter seemed to be somewhat of an odd duck out. Don’t get me wrong, the dude totally kicks ass and is an amazing guitarist but he just didn’t seem to be engaged or connected with the rest of the band. Buren’s presence and energy seemed to over shadow Mac leaving him to sort of lurk in the shadows.
The band closed out the nearly two hour show with “Straight To Hell” “Last Waltz” like ensemble that featured Jason Isbell, Angie Aparo and Abby Owens on vocals. The band delivered some serious harmonies and seemed to really be having a great time. I really could have done with out Abby Owens and her Donna Jean Godcheaux like performance but her vocals really did lend a nice vibe to this drunken Southern ditty. As the band left the stage I could feel the three mile smile that owned my face. I can’t help but look forward to what lies ahead for Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ in 2011 and I can only hope it means many more shows and many more great rock & roll shows from some of Georgia’s favorite sons. Thanks for a real good time fellas.
Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ Setlist
Honeysuckle Blue, Around the Block Again, Great American Bubble Factory, Can’t Promise You the World, Scarred But Smarter, Detroit City, Pre-Approved, Pre-Denied, Underground Umbrella, Build A Fire, Blues on Top of Blues, Georgia Peach*, When You Come Back, Spoonful > I Just Want To Make Love To You > Spoonful**, Fly Me Courageous > Smoke on the Water > Fly Me Courageous, Let’s Go Dancing, Never Gonna Change***, Straight To Hell****
Buren Fowler on guitar from “Blues on Top of Blues” on.
* – w/ Eddie Kirkland
** – w/ Col. Bruce Hampton
*** – Drive By Truckers cover w/ Jason Isbell
**** – w/ Abby Owens, Jason Isbell and Angie Aparo