Casual Kinney Finds a Place For His Songs

Kevn (that's the way he spells it) Kinney is hardly the first authenticity-smitten songster to head to Greenwich Village to find, as he put it in his opening number Friday at McCabe's, "a place to sing my songs." Kinney, who normally fronts the band Drivin' n' Cryin', didn't sound precious or trite telling that tale, much to his credit. Maybe the key is the song "MacDougal Blues" (the title track from his recent solo album), which concludes with him returning to his home base of Atlanta fairly disgusted with the Village attitude.

Judging by what followed, this prodigal return put Kinney in touch with the ol' Southern roots, as he (with versatile assistance from R.E.M.'s Peter Buck) essayed spunky swamp, folk, blues and--yes--some particularly lovely and/or poignant Village-like singer-songwriter fare, bridging the dynamic country/metal schizophrenia Kinney displays with his band.

All was offered with extreme casualness and spontaneous wit (before teaming with English singer Nikki Sudden for a few songs, Kinney referred to the act as "our Traveling Blueberries ensemble"), bringing out the best in Buck's playing and more than covering for Kinney's thin voice.

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