Drivin n Cryin back by popular demand

ALBANY -- Music fans putting together plans for their annual New Year's celebration need look no further than downtown's State Theatre, where Southern rock legends Drivin n Cryin will help bring in 2011 with a performance that will mark the seventh anniversary of the venue.

DNC played at the state last New Year's Eve, and owner/manager Lane Rosen said he's already started receiving calls from fans anxious to see them again.

"This, honestly, is one of those 'back-by-popular-demand' shows in the truest sense of the word," Rosen said. "Last year's New Year's show was just one of the best shows we've had at the state ever.

"Yes, we've had higher-attended shows, and we've had higher-profit shows, but I don't know that we've ever had a show where everything behind the scenes and in front of the scenes went any better. There was just a vibe there ... Everyone had a great time. It was a perfect show, and we're very glad to have them back this year."

Drivin n Cryin burst onto the fertile Georgia music scene in 1989 with their third album, the multiplatinum hit "Mystery Road," which yielded such classics as "Honeysuckle Blue," "Straight to Hell," "Peacemaker" and "Toy Never Played With." Subsequent works "Fly Me Courageous" -- with hits like the title track and "Build a Fire" -- "Smoke" and "Wrapped in Sky" helped cement DNC's place among contemporaries like REM, the B-52s and the Black Crowes.

The Atlanta-based rockers re-emerged last year with the exceptional "The Great American Bubble Factory," which includes songs like "I See Georgia," "Preapproved, Predenied," "This Town," "Midwestern Blues" and "(Whatever Happened to The) Great American Bubble Factory" that stand alongside the band's best work.

Rosen said he's getting calls from throughout the region from fans who were at last year's show and hoped for a return performance.

"They know it's going to be a great show at a great price, and a lot of these folks will be staying over for the night, so it will be good for Albany," he said.

Tickets for the over-21 show, which are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the performance, are available now at Harvest Moon and Moe's Southwest Grill. Tickets may also be charged by calling Rosen at (229) 344-2237.

Rosen said opening acts are yet to be determined, but there is talk that local singer/songwriter Jodi Mann may perform with backing from the Bo Henry Band. Another local favorite being considered for an opening slot is Evan Barber & the Dead Gamblers.

"I can't confirm the opening acts at this time, but you can bet it will be some of the best area talent," Rosen said. "This is a big night for us, and we're going to celebrate our seventh anniversary right. We'll have party favors, free champagne at midnight and some more surprises."