Temple students had better bring their busted rides and heart-covered sleeves to the Owl Cove tonight because fractured and tender takes on Americana are on the agenda as Kevn Kinney takes the stage.
Kinney, an Atlanta-based singer/songwriter, is swinging by the venue, found on Temple University’s Main Campus in Mitten Hall, touring behind his most recent solo release, Broken Hearts and Auto Parts.
“We’re really excited about playing Temple,” Kinney said about tonight’s show. “We’ve got a great band, and we’re looking forward to playing for you guys.”
Longtime fans know that Kinney prides himself on his ability to capture the audience’s imagination with his heartfelt solo performances, engaging storytelling and memorable musings on the topics of love, life and auto repair.
With Broken Hearts and Auto Parts, Kinney delivers on all these fronts. His fourth solo release since fronting the rootsy garage outfit Drivin’N’Crying, Broken Hearts and Auto Parts is filled with Kinney’s trademark troubadour wit, as he sings lines like, “It’s been broken hearts and auto parts this year,” over the steady strum of his acoustic guitar.
It is these honest observations of such universal themes as love and loss, mixed with truly rustic homespun imagery that draw listeners to Kinney’s music and his shows.
But don’t let the sensitivity or tenderness throw you. Kinney has no intention of crushing your heart when you come out to see him.
“You’re not going to hear a lot of really heavy stuff,” Kinney said about the set list. “I don’t want it to be really depressing, you know? It’s not really like that.”
The performances captured on Broken Hearts and Auto Parts certainly attest to this, with Kinney stepping back from the brooding often found on similar albums.
This isn’t to say there isn’t a tugging of the heartstrings, but Kinney does so with charm and lyric, rather than heavy-handed attempts to bring the world a bad mood.
What Kinney will bring to Temple, though, is an energetic and personable live performance that has had fans clamoring to see him time and time again.
Taking songs from his entire catalogue, Kinney leads the crowd through an eclectic mix that covers musical bases from folk, rock, pop, blues and just about all that’s in-between.
But while there are sure to be plenty of longtime fans in attendance, don’t expect Kinney to pull a straight trip through hitsville. He wants to use this current outing to show off something new, namely his new project; the Sun Tangled Angel Revival.
A side project started between recording and touring, STAR is a return to some of the rockier pastures Kinney used to graze with Drivin’n’Cryin’, and he’s trying some of the new songs out on the road. Kinney hopes that the STAR tunes add a little something extra to the set.
“It’s a little more upbeat,” said Kinney about the new project. “It’s not as deep. It’s a little lighter than your usual heavy singer/songwriter sort of thing.”
While the name stirs up an antiquated image of a largely spiritual band, Kinney wants it known that might not be entirely true.
“It’s spiritual,” Kinney said, “In a punk rock kind of way.”
Kinney sings, “Ain’t been the best of years so far/I lost my girl and I lost my car,” on Broken Hearts and Auto Parts. It looks for now, though, with a new tour and a slew of new material, this year is set for a vast improvement.
Sporting firmly planted folk roots reaching out towards rock, punk, and spiritualism, it would seem that Kevn Kinney is ready to help break in this semester’s concert season with a performance that shouldn’t be missed.
Robert James can be reached at email@example.com