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Drivin' 'N' Cryin' sold a lot of records and drew big crowds, most notably in the South and in the Fly Me Courageous days, but that band's leader Kevn Kinney has never gotten the following he deserves as a solo performer. Helping to change that are two superb recent releases, The Flower and the Knife and Broken Hearts and Auto Parts, both of them overflowing with understated, rough-hewn gems. Kinney's at the point where his name should be mentioned alongside such other top-shelf roots troubadours as Peter Case and Steve Forbert. He performs with Monte Montgomery at the Cradle Jan. 29. Then, to open the show at the Berkeley on Feb. 1, Chris Smith steps away from his mates in Patty Hurst Shifter, an outfit that has a little Drivin' 'N' Cryin'-ish, old-fashioned guitar anthem thing going on in its own right. --Rick Cornell

"One of the best things I've heard in 20 f**king years!" So exclaimed Little Steven, who (among other pursuits you may be familiar with) hosts Little Steven's Underground Garage radio show, about The Shazam's new Tomorrow the World. Yeah, this Nashville-based trio is pretty effing great, especially if you like guitar-fueled music that sounds like it comes from a garage in power pop's grittiest neighborhood. Led by Hans Rotenberry--who, with that name, will be forced to be a professional downhill skier if this music thing doesn't work out--the Anglophilic Shazam create muscular pop/rock a la the early Who and other Brit-invasion warriors. It's not for nothing that the band is named after a 1970 album from Roy Wood's versatile group The Move. Catch them, on their way to world domination, at Local 506 on Jan. 31. --Rick Cornell

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