Drivin N' Cryin are a rock ‘n’ roll institution. From their days as MTV-approved radio stars to their rebirth as DIY icons of the American underground, they’ve spent three and a half decades building a legacy grounded in sharp songwriting, southern stomp, and loud, life-affirming shows. Trends have come and gone. Bandmates have done the same. But Drivin’ N Cryin’ continue to hit the stage night after night, guitars in hand, amplifiers on full blast, delivering the soundtrack to a self-made rock & roll saga that’s ever-unfolding.
That saga reaches a new high-water mark with Live the Love Beautiful, the band’s first full-length album since their 2009 working-class rock opera, Whatever Happened to the Great American Bubble Factory. Produced by Aaron Lee Tasjan, the new record is an anthemic blast of full-spectrum rock & roll, with frontman Kevn Kinney singing about the troubled times of modern-day America; the trials and triumphs of an adulthood logged on the road; the benefits of appreciating the small things in life; and even the legacy of the Faces’ late keyboardist, Ian McLagan. Together, these 11 songs connect the dots between the sounds that have shaped Drivin’ N Cryin’s career since the beginning, mixing together the jangle of folk music, the weirdo textures of 1960s psychedelia, the punky slash-and-burn of old-school rock & roll, and the sweep of Kinney’s southern ballads.