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Comin' Round Again

Kevn Kinney's S.T.A.R.

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Album Review

The sophomore release from Kevn Kinney's Sun Tangled Angel Revival finds the Drivin' N' Cryin' frontman continuing to craft acoustic-based, but not entirely unplugged, Southern folk-rock. Less aggressive than his work with Drivin' N' Cryin', this is still tough, uncompromising music, and since D N' C's output of new material seems to have dried up (the band's last album of original songs was released in 1997), the more roots-oriented approach likely reflects Kinney's current direction. His voice is shot from years of overuse, but that just gives the raw quality he injects in songs like "Covered by an Underground Umbrella" more intensity. The folk angle Kinney has emphasized on his solo albums is in evidence with the strummy "Sometimes I Wish I Didn't Care" and the ragged "40 Miles of Mountain Road." The latter starts with acoustic guitar and builds gradually as locomotive-styled brushed drums and a second guitar are added. Kinney unplugged is as, well, driving as his electric work with his mates in Drivin' N' Cryin'. He goes bluesy on the swampy "Blues on Top of Blues" and the humorously titled "Chattahoochie Cootchie Man," a track that reworks the John Lee Hooker/ZZ Top "La Grange" boogie riff with crackling results. Most of these tracks could be rearranged into plugged-in additions to the Drivin' N' Cryin' catalog, but work just as well in this more acoustically oriented format. Kinney is totally involved throughout, straining his already torn and frayed voice as he delivers these songs with staggering honesty and passion. With pros behind the board such as Rodney Mills (who mixed the project) and John Nielsen (who recorded it and sadly died soon afterward), this has a professional yet far from slick sound. Although, as of this album's release in 2006 Kinney was still touring with Drivin', his solo work seems more inspired and heartfelt than the often overwrought Southern hard rock of his more famous group. But they reflect two distinctive sides to one very talented musician and, short of a new D N' C release, Comin' Round Again shows Kinney is improving with age.

Comin' Round Again, Kevn Kinney's S.T.A.R.
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