With his band Drivin-N-Cryin, Kevn Kinney helped lead a roots-pop resurgence on college radio during the ’80s, alongside such kindred spirits as the BoDeans and Boston’s Del Fuegos. Broken Hearts, Kinney’s fourth solo album, reflects the sentiments of an older but not necessarily wiser songwriter plagued by self-doubt — a guy who’s trying to make sense of the past in an effort to stake his claim to a fast-vanishing present.
In that regard, Broken Hearts is a deceptively complex grown-up album, a dusty jewel cut with rough-hewn songs about quiet storms and busted dreams and trying to find the right replacement part for an obsolete relationship. Like Wildflowers-era Tom Petty, it has an open, engagingly tossed-off feel (Kinney recorded the album, mostly live in the studio, in one week). When the title track begins with "Ain’t been the best of years so far/I lost my girl, I lost my car . . . " and Kinney sings those words in his choked, weatherbeaten voice, you can’t help but believe him. There’s a conversational wisdom to rustic, mid-tempo tracks like "Lights On" and the tender "Why Does It Feel So Hard To Say"; and dashes of sax, dobro, and idling Telecaster guitars give the disc a late-night vibe. Broken Hearts probably won’t change your life — but it might change your day.