Drivin' N Cryin' will help Albany ring in New Year

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- The Good Life City will be treated to a Southern musical legend this week as Georgia's own Drivin' N Cryin' heads to Albany Thursday for a New Year's Eve concert.

The performance, for ages 21 and up, will kick off at 8:30 p.m. at the State Theater.

"I'm looking forward to New Year's in Albany," Drivin' N Cryin' front man Kevn Kinney said during a recent telephone interview.

It has been a long time between visits for the band, which pairs rock 'n' roll with a folk influence. "Drivin' N Cryin' has only played in Albany one time," Kinney recalled. "It's got to be 10 years."

Kinney has also played in Albany, at the State Theater, during a solo tour. "The State Theater is a great place to play," the 48-year-old said.

Southwest Georgia fans can expect to hear a variety of tunes that are familiar to those acquainted with the Atlanta-based group's 24-year history. "We do a greatest hits show," Kinney said.

That includes such favorites as "Straight to Hell," as well as songs from Kinney's seven solo albums. But the band's last show of 2009 will also feature tunes from Drivin' N Cryin's new project, "The Great American Bubble Factory," a title that has an interesting origin.

"I took my granddaughter to the Dollar Tree," Kinney said, explaining that the young girl looked at bottles of bubbles. "The labels said, 'Made in China.' They weren't even made in America."

So, Kinney posed the question, "Whatever happened to the great American bubble factories?"

"The record's kind of about that," the father of two grown children said.

Thursday's concert is part of a tour to promote the project. "We'll be touring for the next six months or so," Kinney said, adding it won't be nonstop.

"We don't tour anymore in a tour bus," Kinney said. "We'll go out on weekends or for two weeks." He said he and his three bandmates prefer to be at home more than on the road.

"The Great American Bubble Factory" is Drivin' N' Cryin's first project since the 2003 extended-play album "Detroit City Rock." That's because Kinney developed an issue with his voice.

"Three or four years ago, I started having trouble singing," Kinney said. "I couldn't do shows."

The condition worsened, and Kinney went to a specialist. "I had a cyst in the larynx," he said.

Once Kinney recovered from surgery to remove the cyst, he was back behind the microphone. "I'm better than ever now," he said.

These days, Kinney is back to performing with the band that bills itself as "like your record collection," which the lead singer believes embodies Drivin' N Cryin's eclectic sound.

"It's like a mixed tape," he said, explaining that the group plays anything from hard rock to country to folk music. Such a range stems from Kinney's varied musical influences. "My biggest ones are the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Ramones," he said. "Growing up, I was a Buddy Holly fan, and Elvis -- music from the '50s."

Collectively, Kinney explained, Drivin' N Cryin' draws inspiration from an English band formed in the 1960s. "As a band, our biggest influence is the Who," he said.

Doors for Thursday's concert open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are on sale at Harvest Moon. The performance is for those 21 years old and older.

Southwest Georgians will have another opportunity to see Drivin' N Cryin' next month, when it heads to Tallahassee, Fla. to perform at Potbelly's on Jan. 26.

For more information about the New Year's Eve performance, call (229) 436-1228 or visit www.drivenncryin.com.