Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ are one of those underdiscovered rock bands you probably know about if you grew up in certain parts of the South during certain parts of the last century, or if you happened to hang out with someone who did, and who liked to put the band’s songs on mix tapes. They came out of the Atlanta scene in the mid-’80s, but latecomers hoping to understand their sound should not only nod at R.E.M., but consider Neil Young, AC/DC, The Replacements, even the bounce-back effect of the Drive-By Truckers, who were certainly influenced by D’N’C the first time around — before turning around and influencing Kevn Kinney & Co. right back.
The band started demos for Great American Bubble Factory on September 10th, 2001. As Kinney writes in the press materials accompanying the record: “The next day the world was upside down… I just didn’t feel like I was ready to tell the story of the blue-collared optimist.” As it turns out, several of the songs (“Detroit City,” “Preapproved, Predenied”) couldn’t be more prescient of the times at hand. “If you can make it here, why don’t you make it here?” Kinney sings on the title track — it’s like the productive flip side of John Rich’s “Shutting Detroit Down” indignance. “In my world,” Kinney writes, half-jokingly, “the first step to a renewed America and our deliverance from an unspeakable disrespect of the American workforce would be the opening of THE GREAT AMERICAN BUBBLE FACTORY. They would come from miles around to see the Willie Wonka of the New Deal… There’s hope again!!!” Given the song’s smashing horn arrangement and the unmistakable squall of Kinney’s voice, the same can pretty much be said for Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ fans.
Great American Bubble Factory is available September 29th, but because here at the Music Mix we are into sharing, you can hear it right now, streaming below. Give a listen, tell your friends, and ring in with your comments.
More from EW’s Music Mix: