by Erinn Fortson
Record stores have made a comeback in the last few years. Some never left and braved it through the demand for digitalization. No matter how fast the download though, people have still expressed the need to dig through vinyl at their local music shops. It goes beyond physical purchase and a preference for sound quality; it’s also about the face-to-face fellowship between people. Music fans enjoy interacting with each other. And what better place to do that than a record store?
“It suspended it,” Kevn Kinney says when I ask him if technology has taken away from the magic buying of vinyl. “Record stores are definitely coming back. In my neighborhood, here in Brooklyn, within seven blocks in either direction, I’ve got six record stores. So, I mean the vinyl stores are coming back. I think people like the interaction between talking to the guy behind the counter. What happened was kind of good; the big record chain stores kind of went away. And now when you’re a real music lover that wants to find music you can go to the record store and buy it on vinyl; you can hold it in your hand again.”
Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ pays tribute to record stores worldwide and emphasizes the parallel between music and social connections in their song “The Little Record Store Just Around The Corner”, which is a track from the band’s latest album.
“You know, when I go to different countries, the first place I go to is the record store,” says Kinney. It’s kind of like the American Embassy or the British Embassy. If you go to Czechoslovakia or if you go to Russia, I would suggest the first thing you do is buy the record store, you know what I mean? You always feel welcome [there] and you have a language you [can speak].”
Songs From The Psychedelic Time Clock is the third installment of the band’s EP project. This album, similar to the others in the series, acts as a time capsule, as Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ rediscover the music and culture of various eras.
“I’ll get really into a certain type of music and just want to really [dive] into it,” says Kinney. “I’ll go through a Beatles era or I’ll go through an Aerosmith era and I’ll go through a Bob Dylan era, or Ryan Adams or whatever, you know? And then I’ll write some songs based on that era of what I’m doing then. “
The idea behind Songs From The Psychedelic Time Clock, and the other albums in the series, was to create a continuum of music for listeners to enjoy; mixing up a collection of songs between several records instead of producing just one.
“I just decided to experiment with myself to see, what happens if we just never stop recording?” says Kinney. “Usually what I would do is take these 20 songs that I’m presenting in a year and I would probably put 11 of them on an album. And I would try to fit them together for you. What I decided to do is, let’s just put all 22 songs out there and let people make their own mixtapes; make their own records out of them. I’m kind of just letting people have fun with it.”
In addition to releasing their newest record, Drivn’ ‘N’ Cryin’ has been touring all over the country this past year. Their shows will continue throughout the summer, which will include performances in New York, Florida, and also Georgia, the state that gave the band its start. Kevn Kinney and Tim Nielsen first met over 30 years ago, connecting through Atlanta’s music scene. Meeting Nielsen changed the course of Kinney’s career.
“I think you would probably know me as a folk singer right now, cause I was really into that,” says Kinney. I probably would have wound up being part of Sugarland. Tim was the synthesis of me being an Atlanta musician, period.” Originally from Milwaukee, Kinney was only 24 then, working in a sewage plant when he wasn’t playing music.
“We had no expectations of doing anything,” says Kinney. “Just getting a gig and getting free beer. It wasn’t until people wanted to record us, like make an album. We were like, really? You want to make an album? That could be fun.” And then a couple years after that when Kim Buie from Island actually wanted to sign us we were like, alright, wow. I guess what I’m trying to get at is if I was to start a band today, I would have to be a lot more diligent and I’d have to be a lot more focused on trying to make it my career. It’s not a given anymore than you can even have a local following.”