Kevn interview in Raleigh's News Observer

"So I wish the record was even more rock," Kinney concludes, with a laugh and a promise that the band's two-night stand at Raleigh's Pour House this weekend will be raucous indeed. The News Observer. Raleigh, NC

BY DAVID MENCONI - STAFF WRITER Drivin' N' Cryin' has historically had the split personality implied by the name, pairing the drive of full-throttle rock with the tears of cry-in-your-beer country. But with a few scattered exceptions, the band's new album "Great American Bubble Factory" (Vintage Earth Music) leaves the twang far, far behind. As a long-ago Drivin' N' Cryin' single put it, "Turn It Up Or Turn It Off."

"Well, we're a rock band," DNC frontman Kevn Kinney says, speaking by phone from a bookstore near his Atlanta home. "Not unpleasantly loud, mind you, but loud enough that if it's just vocals you like, you're not gonna hear everything. We have Marshall amps and it's what we do. Used to be we'd dial that down a bit for records, and people would be surprised when they saw us because we really are one of the loudest bands in the South.

"So I wish the record was even more rock," Kinney concludes, with a laugh and a promise that the band's two-night stand at Raleigh's Pour House this weekend will be raucous indeed.

"Bubble Factory" is the first new Drivin' N' Cryin' album in 12 years, during which time Kinney has mostly kept busy as a solo act. One catalyst for reviving Drivin' N' Cryin' after so long was encouragement from Kinney's father.

"He told me, 'You know, you should stick with that Drivin' N' Cryin' thing there, hey,'" Kinney says, mimicking the classic cheesehead accent of his Milwaukee upbringing. "'People know that brand name, you know?' I decided he was right. So this is a real band record where we got together and shared ideas. The Kevn Kinney thing is all me -- I call the shots, produce, do everything. Which is good, but it's a lot of pressure. Drivin' N' Cryin' is cool because I get to be a member with a vote, and other people bring stuff to the table."

One th

ing brought to the table was a modicum of populist politics, especially the title track -- a kissing cousin to James McMurtry's "We Can't Make It Here," which also laments the outsourcing of America's industry. The song's inspiration came from Kinney wondering why everything, even bottles of blowing bubbles, seems to be made in China. So he proposes opening up the "Great American Bubble Factory" right here in the U.S.

"A bubble factory would be a step in the right direction," Kinney says. "It'd just be nice to have something, because I don't know that there's any kind of factory base in America anymore. I do know that Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago are all a lot cleaner than they used to be. But maybe that's not such a good thing. All the factories went off to China, it seems like. I'm not a political guy, I'm just kind of an observer. And it's pretty simple: Why can't we even make bubbles in America? It's not nanotechnology or even TVs. So why not?"

Along with odes to America's fading manufacturing base, "Bubble Factory" speaks up for those taking the brunt of this recession ("Preapproved, Predenied") with songs invoking Detroit, the Midwest, the band's native Georgia and other locales. It's classic stomp-along bar-band rock, from the title track's soul-horn riffs to the Lynyrd Skynyrd-style blues-rock riff on "I See Georgia."

That should make for a rocking couple of nights at the Pour House, which is smaller than most clubs Drivin' N' Cryin' plays. But Kinney wanted to play there because it has become one of his favorite home-away-from-home venues.

"We've not done two nights in a club in a long time, but the vibe of that room is kind of rare," Kinney says. "I've played thousands of shows over the years, and I'm finally tuned in to where I can really tell where the cool clubs are. The last time I played there was with a band that was loud. And I thought, 'You know what, I want to do a weekend here with Drivin' N' Cryin'. There's a great vibe here, it will be packed -- like the old days.' So I called the agent about putting it together. It's fun and inspiring for us. And we're also looking forward to not having to load out after the first night."