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Great American Bubble Factory

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Album Review

Prior to the release of 2009's The Great American Bubble Factory, the last time Drivin' n' Cryin' had been heard from on record was a 1999 live album devoted to the band's greatest not-quite-hits. After more than ten years out of the ballpark and with lead singer and songwriter Kevn Kinney devoting most of his time to his solo career, one could be forgiven for imagining Drivin' n' Cryin' were for all practical purposes over and done. But as it happens, The Great American Bubble Factory not only finds the band sounding surprisingly feisty, but filled with a sense of purpose, with most of the songs dealing with the economic and emotional malaise that took hold in America during the last year of the George W. Bush administration. While Kinney and his longtime foil Tim Nielsen allow their quieter side to come forward on songs like "Don't You Know That I Know That You Know?" and "Midwestern Blues," for the most part The Great American Bubble Factory rocks hard, moving with a combination of swagger and populist anger as working folks struggle to stay afloat in a land where jobs are short, credit card debt threatens to swallow everything in sight, and nearly everything that used to be made in America has "Made in China" branded on it. Kinney isn't naïve enough to imagine he knows all the answers to what's ailing America's heart, soul, and wallet, but he knows how to make the issues seem as real as the foreclosed house down the block, and Kinney and Mac Carter whip up a big wall of guitars that gives the songs the grand scale that suits them. Kinney's voice is starting to show its age on these sessions (he had surgery on his vocal cords in 2007 to remove nodes that were affecting his singing), and the cover of the Dictators' "I Stand Tall" suggests that Kinney doesn't quite get the joke, but for a band that was formed in 1985 and has been off the radar for over a decade, Drivin' n' Cryin' sound admirably vital and committed on The Great American Bubble Factory, and this album suggests they might have a great third act in them yet.

Biography

Formed: 1985

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed in Atlanta in 1986, the hard-rocking, Southern roots music-steeped Drivin' n' Cryin' were never embraced on a national level, but have reigned supreme in the region during their tenure. Originally made up of singer/songwriter Kevn Kinney on guitar and vocals, Tim Nielsen on bass, and Paul Lenz on drums, the band's debut was the timeless hard rock/bluegrass fusion Scarred But Smarter (1986) on 688 Records, the label that grew out of the punk-era Atlanta club of the same name. The band followed...
Full bio
Great American Bubble Factory, Drivin' N' Cryin'
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Roots Rock
  • Released: 29 September 2009

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