Broken Hearts and Auto Parts

Kevn Kinney

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Broken Hearts and Auto Parts Review

by Robert L. Doerschuk

Lo-tech almost to the point of affectation, Broken Hearts and Auto Parts wears its rough edges like insignia of street credibility. Yet there's a naturalness to Kinney's writing and delivery that rings true. His songs speak with an artless eloquence over spare and simple backup tracks, with homespun imagery woven into lyrics like "Dialing down the radio/Trying to find a song about you." For all its imperceptible breaks, limited range, dubious pitch, and raggedy timbre, Kinney's voice communicates beautifully and thus leaps the greatest hurdle confronting every singer; it's a perfect match for the spirited, yet languid and less-than-precise backup provided by his colleagues in the contemporary lineup of Drivin' N' Cryin', along with deadpan but convincing harmony support from the daughter of Arlo Guthrie -- as pedigreed as accompaniment can get. There is, in fact, something charming and disingenuous in this music, similar in kind to Guthrie's best work. Through the easy flow of his songs and their performance, Kinney achieves a timelessness on Broken Hearts and Auto Parts that may make it as appealing to future generations as it is to graybeard Americana aficionados.

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