Oh, come ye of the fucked up teeth and make music…..
I’ve turned a shitload of people on to Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ in my travels and various stations in life. And it was never a matter of grabbing somebody by the ears and yelling, “hey man, you HAVE to check out this band like RIGHT NOW!”
It was always the reverse. My constituents took notice before I had to point anything out, not that I was about pointing out new musical discoveries anyway. It’s against the rules when trying to put on elitist musical airs. You keep the good stuff to yourself so you have that magic “I saw them at so-and-so club and there were 7 people in the place counting me” card as a trump when the rest of the unwashed world inevitably wakes up and buys ten million copies of their second release and ruins everything.
Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ did the work I never wanted done among my few peers, sans that pesky ten million in sales-thing. Sorry boys.
“That’s a bitchin’ rock song. Who is it?” And, “Can I get a copy of that?”
I was aware of Buren Fowler and his association with Pete Buck and REM when REM were ripping up the sewer that was college radio like a V8 powered rotorooter, and in retrospect, I suppose that led me to Whisper Tames The Lion. I honestly can’t remember if I happened upon a live show or a recording first. Either way, one thing was obvious. Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ was different.
Whereas most of the Athens/Atlanta spawn were content to jingle-jangle its way along Southern High School halls like a Band-Aid box full of milk nickels, Kevin’s music seemed much more diverse, edgy, and powerful. His songwriting skills, to me, rose miles above the Rickenbacker bell tones and art school smog belching from the red clay landscape below. I spent many hours in the headphones being moved and provoked and inspired by his prose and the band’s musicianship. Fly Me Courageous remains a staple in my “Top Ten Desert Island Playlist” and shall remain so. It’s one of the most solid albums I have ever encountered.
Sorry Buren had to pass away. I’m sure he would have had a chuckle over the elder statesman flair that the documentary hooh-ha may have brought about, not that he needed it. Doubt there were (or ever will be) those more capable of shouldering the future of Southern Rock as he.
Those early years were some of the most memorable, when life’s inevitable cruise ship-style slog to irrelevance was nowhere on the horizon, and music was much more than just a hairstyle and a fuzzy backing track to youthful pursuits that did nothing but waste time. Those memories remain meaningful because I was old enough to recognize the depth of emotion in the music, and young enough to let my as yet untainted hopes and dreams sustain them. They live again every time you push play. Drivin’ N’ Cryin’s play button got pushed a lot. Damn shame and a simultaneous relief that it took the establishment 26 years to find the same god damn button.