"Serious shit-kickin’": MOKB Reviews KK's 'a good country mile'

My Old Kentucky Blog Reviews Kevn's 'a good country mile'

by Mary Leary

February 29, 2012

Shucks! This is serious shit-kickin’ fodder. Musical rule-changerAnton Fier (Golden Palominos; Pere Ubu, the Feelies, the Bob Mould Band)

and Kevn Kinney of Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’ throw such a convincing bucket of sweat and emotion into A Good Country Mile; I yearn to move to Colorado and ride horses (or at least watch folks saddling up prior to flying over creeks, fences, and mini-malls). This is one Brooklyn/East Village/spent-years-in-tour-buses-splattered hoedown. The guitars (by Fier, Kinney, and Tony Scherr) are a potent cocktail of power chords, glistening acoustic runs, and acidic struts. The bass playing (by Andy Hess, who’s also worked with Govt. Mule and Black Crowes) insinuates all the right things; twining masterfully into the mix.

Kinney and Fier’s mutual goal was “…to make a record that had the feel – the looseness, the innocence, and the spontaneity – of some of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s records that we were both fascinated by: The James Gang Rides Again, Terry Reid’s River, The Faces’ The First Step, (and) Marc Benno’s Minnows.”

Those inspirations have yielded new riches. The title track

is a classic of gritty-sweet simplicity (with some of the James Gang’s casual jaunt). “In the Land (of Things that used to Be)” has some of the latter, along with the feeling of having been pushed through a classic New Wave sieve. “Set in Stone” is

a sublimely souful ballad (that feels something like the Faces, and the Exile-era Stones). A Good Country Mile may also be welcomed by Neil Young/Crazy Horse fans. As Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ devotees know, Kinney’s been trotting in this direction for some time. And in 2010 he joined Dead Confederate for a cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

At least parts of A Good Country Mile sound like a Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’ release that’s spent several years rollin’ around the mud, sand, and blood of the Southwest (real and/or mythical – as it happens, the closing track, which shimmers with cool tones, is “In a Southwestern State”). For those who like riffs and beats that could cut a tough steak before washing it down with spring-sweet nectar, this is a very good thing. It’s also one of the first 2012 releases I’ve heard that is, for me, a keeper. With all the worthy contenders bobbing around my earspace, that’s saying something.