Drivin' n' Cryin' is comfortable, but exciting, fit for returning Kinney

After more than 20 years and a career that has encompassed hard rock and lyrical folk, singer-songwriter Kevn Kinney said Drivin' n' Cryin' still feels like home.


The band, which formed in 1986 in Atlanta, combined elements of psychedelic and garage rock, folk and Black Sabbath.

"It was just an amalgamation of everything we were interested in," Mr. Kinney said.

Although successful as an acoustic performer, he said returning to Drivin' n' Cryin' is not only comfortable, as is expected after 22 years, but also exciting.

"The thing is, I'm a folksinger and a heavy metal head," he said with a laugh. "And right now, well, I just love putting that hard-rock hat on."

Drivin' n' Cryin' was more often cited as an excellent live act rather than for its recorded output. He acknowledged that the band seemed to excel in front of an audience and never quite found the same energy in the more sterile environs of a studio.

"I mean, our records were good," he said. "I do think we had some pretty good records. But they never caught the live thing. We were, are, always better live."

Mr. Kinney, who now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., said that although Drivin' n' Cryin' was always in its natural element while touring, the band no longer sets out on the long slogs that helped build its fan base.

"We are officially retired from touring," he said. "We really just do weekends now. But that makes the shows special. It makes it an event. I mean, we are not going to play Augusta four times a year anymore."

Drivin' n' Cryin' has inspired a generation of bands. Elements of its sound can be heard in songs by the Drive-By Truckers and Wilco, for instance. Mr. Kin- ney said that as much as his band might have inspired them, they inspire Drivin' n' Cryin', as bands such as R.E.M. did when the group started.

"You go and see a band like Wilco or Oasis or Radiohead and it motivates," he said. "Because I'm still inspired by those things that were a driving force when we started the band. I want to be authentic and real. I don't need to play an arena to feel validated, just to play a great show -- loud as a jet plane and inspiring."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.


WHAT: Drivin' n' Cryin', the Shaun Piazza Band and 48 Volt

WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Sky City, 1157 Broad St.

COST: $13 advance, $15 day of show; www.skycityaugusta.com