Over the last several years the coming of October has, for me, brought with it a heightened anticipation of Drivin n Cryin’s annual Holiday show. It is the culmination of a year of traveling with the band to clubs, theaters and festivals; a year of truck stops, La Quintas, and Denny’s.  Most of you, I’m sure, look forward to the Holiday season as an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, unwind, relax, and reflect on a year that is rapidly reaching its end.  Each year, many of you take time out of your busy holiday schedules to spend a few hours with Drivin n Cryin.  And each year, the band looks forward to spending a few hours with you, bringing it all back home.

The Drivin n Cryin Holiday Extravaganza stage has often featured a cavalcade of musicians, sometimes, perhaps, to the delight of fans, but also, perhaps, not so.  This year’s stage saw only the four members of the band delivering a joyous and blistering 2 ½-hour rock marathon, giving nearly two thousand fans in attendance a peek into the future of the band.  For many in the audience, it was the first opportunity to see the band since the recent addition of guitarist Sadler Vaden. Quite a few videos of the new lineup were posted on Drivin n Cryin’s Facebook page in recent months, creating a buzz amongst fans anxious to experience the magic live.  Immediately noticeable to many was frontman Kevn Kinney’s move to stage right, highlighting Sadler front-and-center and placing him in a position that allows the other three members to feed off the energy that he brings to the band.  And what energy he brings!  His guitar work is, of course, stellar, but he also adds an additional layer to the band as a vocalist, opening the door for tight four-part harmony and allowing Kevn an occasional vocal break.  The future’s so bright…well, you know how the rest of that line goes.

The band recently spent a few days at Atlanta’s Sonica Recording, laying down tracks for a highly anticipated EP that will be released early next year.  All four tracks from that EP—“Where’s My Country,” “Ain’t Waitin’ On Tomorrow,” “Baloney,” and the appropriately named tribute to R.E.M., “REM”—were played at the Tabernacle.  Those wishing to hear all the classics were not disappointed, with favorites like “Fly Me Courageous,” “Scarred But Smarter,” and the perpetually popular drunken sing along, “Straight to Hell” thrown into the mix. A number of now rarely played songs were dusted off, and a spate of cover tunes from the Traveling Wilbury’s “Handle With Care” to the Kinks’ “Father Christmas” gave the band a chance to relax and hopefully delighted fans.  As a fan myself, I can say that last Friday’s show at the Tabernacle was one of the best that I’ve ever seen.

The upcoming year promises to be a great one for Drivin n Cryin.  That means that 2012 promises to be a great year to be a Drivin n Cryin fan!  All the cool kids have signed up for the band newsletter, which is how they always know what is going on with the band, know the tour dates, read wisdom from Drivin n Cryin’s own version of Mark Twain—guitar tech, Clay Johnson—and have access to secret songs.  You can sign up at www.drivinncryin.com.  You can also “Like” Drivin n Cryin on Facebook so you’ll always know what’s up.  And that’s what’s up.

Check out these great pics from John Adams. John recently caught the show at The Tabernacle on Friday, Dec. 23!

 Will Hoge

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 Drivin n Cryin