The American singer-songwriter and musician is best known for his hit song “Drivin’ N Cryin’,” which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.
Drivin’ n’ Cryin is an American country music band from Nashville, Tennessee. The band was formed in 1990 by singer-songwriter Steve Earle and guitarist John Leventhal. In 1991, the group released their debut album, The Hard Way.
Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ didn’t fit the mold of a “Southern rock” band, but in a genuine sense, they were a band that proudly flaunted the various aspects of their Georgia background. Their music was a passionate mix of hard rock’s loud guitars and booming drums, alternative rock’s jangle, acoustic country and folk’s acoustic sound and timeless mood, and singer and main songwriter Kevn Kinney’s intelligent yet unpretentious lyrics. Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ gained a fanbase thanks to the rocking yet roots-conscious sound of 1987’s Whisper Tames the Lion and 1989’s Mystery Road, but with 1991’s Fly Me Courageous, they honed their hard rock influences and saw mainstream success. After years of keeping a low profile, Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ returned in 2009 with The Great American Bubble Factory, a powerful and focused album that reinforced their talents, and the group has been touring and recording with renewed dedication since then.
Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ was founded in 1985 in Atlanta, Georgia, when Kevn Kinney, a singer, guitarist, and composer who had just relocated south from Milwaukee, met Tim Nielsen, who had been playing bass with the Night Porters, a popular local band. Nielsen and Night Porters drummer Paul Lenz were inspired by Kinney’s songs and decided to form a new band, naming it Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ after one of Kinney’s songs. The band quickly established themselves as a regular fixture at Atlanta’s 688 Club, the epicenter of the city’s underground rock scene. The club’s owners were so taken with Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ that they established their own record label, 688 Records, to release their debut album, Scarred But Smarter, in 1986. The album was well-received on college radio, and the band was discovered by Island Records, who signed them to a recording deal and reissued Scarred But Smarter.
Paul Lenz departed Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ before they started working on their second album, and Jeff Sullivan took over on drums. (Sullivan had previously performed with Mr. Crowe’s Garden, the forerunners of the Black Crowes.) The band traveled to New York City to record Whisper Tames the Lion in 1988, which was produced by Anton Fier, who added a few session players to round out their sound. The record did well at college radio once again, but Island was underwhelmed by its sales and was reluctant to commit to another album until destiny intervened. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck was a fan of Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ and asked the band to start their tour in support of Green. Island needed a new Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ album for the tour, so the band produced Mystery Road in 1989, which included fan favorites “Straight to Hell” and “Honeysuckle Blue.” (Another R.E.M. link was made on the album when Buren Fowler, their guitar tech, joined Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ as lead guitarist.) The album did well in Georgia, where the band had established itself as a major live attraction, but Kinney saved his folk and country influences for his debut solo album, MacDougal Blues (produced by Peter Buck, who also joined Kinney for an acoustic tour), and Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ released Fly Me Courageous in 1991, which was dominated by the group’s hard rock influences. Fly Me Courageous got more commercial exposure than any of the group’s previous albums, and MTV played the videos for “Build a Fire” and “Fly Me Courageous” on a regular basis.
Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ won their first gold record with Fly Me Courageous, and for the follow-up, 1993’s Smoke, they emphasized their hard rock influences even more. However, although two songs from the album, “Turn It Up or Turn It Off” and the title track, charted on the contemporary rock charts, the album failed to match the previous LP’s popularity and received mixed reviews. Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ had been dissatisfied with their new managers at Island Records for many years when the label was sold to Polygram Label Group; the band and the label amicably decided to split ways, and Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ inked a deal with Geffen Records in 1994. Wrapped in Sky, the band’s Geffen debut from 1995, was a low-key affair, with Fowler’s guitar work dropped when he was replaced by keyboardist Joey Huffman. The album’s promotion by Geffen was half-hearted, and the band departed the label before the end of the year. Huffman departed Drivin’ n’ Cryin’, and the Kinney/Nielsen/Sullivan trio recorded a self-titled album for the indie Ichiban label in 1997 (produced by longtime Clash collaborator Kosmo Vinyl). The band continued to perform live concerts on occasion, and a concert CD, The Essential Live Drivin’ n’ Cryin’, was released in 1999, with Huffman on keyboards and David Franklin on guitar joining the three for the shows.
The band went on hiatus for a few years, but in 2001, Kinney asked Nielsen to join him on his solo album, Broken Hearts and Auto Parts, which he released in 2001 with guitarist Mac Carter and drummer Dave V. Johnson. The quartet gelled, and they devised a plan for a new Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ album; the album was never finished, but an EP, Detroit City Rock, was released in 2002, and the new Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ started performing frequently. Kinney underwent surgery in 2007 when nodules on his vocal cords were found; he soon recovered his voice, and he started laying the groundwork for a new Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ record. After the release of The Great American Bubble Factory in 2009, the band hit the road, doing more concerts than they had in the previous 10 years. Mac Carter left Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ in 2011, and Sadler Vaden was hired as their new lead guitarist. Instead of recording a new album, the band released four EPs: Songs from the Laundromat (2012), Songs About Cars, Space, and the Ramones (2012), Songs for the Turntable (2013), and Songs from the Psychedelic Time Clock (2013). Scarred But Smarter: Life n’ Times of Drivin’ n’ Cryin’, a documentary about the group, debuted in 2012, and they were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2018, Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ collaborated with New West Records on a remixed edition of their 1997 album for Ichiban, retitled Too Late to Turn Back Now. On 2019’s Live the Love Beautiful, which was produced by Aaron Lee Tasjan, who had previously played guitar with the group, they placed the rough hard rock aspect of their musical personality front and center. By this time, Laur Joamets was playing guitar with Kinney, Nielsen, and Johnson in the Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ lineup.
The drivin’ n’ cryin’ tour history is a biography, songs, and albums of the band Drivin’ N Cryin’.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happened to the band Drivin and Cryin?
The band Drivin and Cryin broke up in the year of 2019.
What genre is drivin cryin?
Drivin Cryin is a country song.
Who is the lead singer for driving and Crying?
The lead singer for Driving and Crying is not known.
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