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DRIVING AGAIN: Kevn Kinney doesn't know why people don't say good morning on the sidewalk. It probably has to do with the way things are done in his new hometown: New York City.
"I'm determined to figure it out," said the Drivin N Cryin frontman as he walked through a cemetery in Queens. "It's an interesting study."
Drivin N Cryin released its latest album, "Great American Bubble Factory," Tuesday and the band will play Headliners tonight. "Bubble Factory" is Southern rock that was inspired in part by New York City life.
"It's inspired me in a few ways, (like) writing about the South actually," Kinney said. "Once you get out of something, you see it in a hazy hue. It kind of helps me to remember the South."
Kinney's not trying to make it in New York; he's living there for a practical reason: his wife has a job. "Bubble Factory" is DNC's first album of original music since 1997's self-titled album.
"It took a while before I felt like doing it, before it felt right," Kinney said. "The thing about Drivin N Cryin, there's no faking it. We either do it or we don't."
How did living in New York affect Kinney, who has released solo albums and fronted Kevn Kinney's Sun Tangled Angel Revival between DNC records? (He still keeps Southern ways; he has a barbecue pit in the backyard of his bottom-floor apartment in Brooklyn.)
"I'm trying to figure it out," said Kinney, who has also called Atlanta and Milwaukee home. "There's nothing like New York City. I'm not sure what all these people are doing here."
A lot are trying to make it big in the city that never sleeps.
"You pretty much have to play for free here for a while until something happens," Kinney said of the young bands and performers he's been hanging out with.
New York is also a city where it's a pain to do gigs because there's no parking. Kinney wanted to purchase a Fender amp, but "I had to think if I could fit in a cab or not."
"People who make it here have definitely earned it," he added.
The recession has affected the fortunes of bands big and small. Kinney said the financial collapse has actually favored bands like DNC, as people look to spend less.
"It actually works in our benefit because we're not a huge band selling tickets for $50," he said. "I only have to sell 300, 400 tickets at $10, $15.
"Maybe the tickets prices will come down. Maybe the cool package tours will come back."
The band kept it simple with the new record, as the members had one goal.
"Let's just make a great Southern rock record," Kinney said.
Good thing DNC recorded it down here, because there isn't much simple about New York.
The show starts at 8 p.m. Leslie opens. Headliners is at 700 Gervais St. $15; (803) 394-5467
NEW MATES: Less frenetic. That's how Andy Friedman describes his new backing band, The Golden Winners. Andy Friedman and The Golden Winners will perform at 10:30 tonight at Hunter-Gatherer.
Friedman and his other band, The Other Failures, played two shows in Columbia earlier this year, one at the UU Coffeehouse and the other at Hunter-Gatherer. Friedman made it clear that he didn't break up or disband The Other Failures, which backed him on his last release, "Weary Things."
"Like Neil Young has his Stray Gators and Crazy Horse, I wanted to offer another listening experience to the audiences, and another performing experience for myself, quite frankly," Friedman said.
Friedman, who presents songs like paintings, uses gritty folk and country as colors. So how will his live sound change?
"The sound of The Other Failures is dark and gritty, like a Jacques-Henri Lartigue photograph," Friedman said. "The sound of the Golden Winners, on the other hand, is dark and wooden, like an Andrew Wyeth painting." (See online for photo representation.)
The Plowboys will open and show the film from "Plowboys and Indians: Black Elk Speaks," the opera that debuted at the Columbia Museum of Art in August.
H-G is at 900 Main St. $4; (803) 748-0540
LIVE DEBUT: Guitarist Marty Fort's approach was simple. He called bass player Jay Matheson and said, "I want to do a rockabilly band."
On Saturday at Art Bar, Fort and Matheson, joined by drummer Kevin Brewer, will debut their new band: The Capital City Playboys.
"It's kind of an out-of-nowhere band, I think everyone would agree," said Matheson, who owns the recording studio Jam Room. "I just thought that Columbia was really ripe for a rockabilly or a good garage band."
Rockabilly, one of the earliest forms of rock 'n' roll, emerged in the 1950s. The sound merged walking country bass lines with chugging rock 'n' roll riffs and dancey grooves. In other words, hillbilly songs got faster rhythms. The genre exploded with Elvis' uptempo music - and the echo technique perfected by Sun Records. More than half a century later, rockabilly is thought of more as a fashion style than a style of music.
Fort wants to make the sounds en vogue again.
"This past year, I've been immersing myself in the Elvis era.," he said.
But the Capital City Playboys aren't just going to play and sound like Elvis; the is band also trying to emulate folks such as Carl Perkins.
"He's kind of the quintessential rockabilly guy," Matheson said. His research for the band led him to finds like Wanda Jackson, who was sort of the queen of the rockabilly movement.
Fort said the rockabilly idea has been brewing for about six months, and the band has been practicing for two.
"It's just going to be fun," said Fort, who runs Columbia Arts Academy. "It's going to give us a chance to do something we haven't been able to do as far as genre.
"We just get in and do it."
Brewer, who went to the Army's music school and is now a musician for the military, will be able to showcase his chops. Since the band is in the process of writing original songs, the first show will feature covers of Buddy Holly, Perkins, Johnny Cash and, of course, Elvis.
"It's going to be us straight up tearing these songs," Fort said.
To see more of the CCP, visit www.capitalcityplayboys.com. The show starts at 10 p.m. Kenley Young and the Open Fires headline. The Brisbones will also play. Art Bar is at 1211 Park St. $3; (803) 929-0198