Kevin Devine hates it when people call him a singer-songwriter. Yet he names guys like Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, and Neil Young — you know, singer-songwriters — as influences. His angsty, political lyrics are sung in an earnestly aching voice — just like the one favored by singer-songwriters for decades. But Devine is so personable, it's easy to forgive him for this peeve. His amiable nature is one of the reasons he's so popular with indie-rock hipsters. The Brooklynite writes the kind of folk rock that gets audiences bobbing their heads — not necessarily because they agree with his message, but because Devine performs his songs with such conviction, it's hard not to believe that he believes every word he's singing. Devine often deals in dark themes — from Iraq to deteriorating relationships. Yet he always manages to sneak a glimmer of hope into his gloomy thoughts. No wonder so many people like him.
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