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Kid Rock cleans up well at Rogers Arena

Published in the Vancouver Sun on May 17, 2011.


A lot of people hate on Kid Rock, but the truth is there’s not much to hate — any more, that is.

The Detroit-based singer-songwriter, rapper and country artist is a changed man. He hasn’t put the most straitlaced foot forward in the past, but as the scraggly-haired musician who just turned 40 demonstrated to a packed Rogers Arena Tuesday night, the sleazy swagger days are gone — it’s all about the heart and the music now.

Kid Rock, otherwise known as Robert James Ritchie, first muscled his way into the spotlight with his 1998 release of Devil Without A Cause. He left a lasting impression with that record. And it wasn’t a positive one.

Ritchie’s metal-infused country-rap songs like Bawitdaba and Cowboy appealed to a particularly churlish demographic, engulfing radio waves like a big, noxious cloud of diesel fumes. His brash, third-rate image as a skinny, shirtless, fedora-wearing white boy was further trampled by his affinity for drugs, alcohol and busty women. He regularly waved the Confederate flag. He brawled in an Atlanta Waffle House. And his short-lived marriage to Pamela Anderson in 2006 was just another cigarette burn in the sun-bleached couch.

Kid Rock has dragged his image through the mud. Now, with his latest heartland country-rock album Born Free, he’s finally moved out of the trailer park and into a charming rural home.

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