Brash as he is, and certainly no stranger to the cameras of TMZ-type programs, Kid Rock has been underestimated pretty much ever since his 1998 Atlantic debut Devil Without a Cause took more than a year to go platinum (and then went platinum several times over). Ever since, Rock has been a tireless, unapologetic defender of old-school rock and roll values — i.e., swigging Jack Daniel's straight out of the bottle — with an uncanny knack for scoring a runaway pop hit every so often, as he's doing right now with multi-format crossover behemoth "All Summer Long." Underneath his crotch-grabbing bravado, Rock is an accomplished songwriter all too aware of the toll his chosen lifestyle exacts on the psyche, but having way too much fun to ever consider stopping. In that respect, he's just like his mentors in Lynyrd Skynyrd. In one sense, Skynyrd never recovered from the loss of songwriting genius Ronnie Van Zandt in that 1977 Louisiana plane crash, but in another, the band remains as relevant as ever thanks to a new generation of firebrands — ranging from Rock to Miranda Lambert to Dark Meat — for whom Skynyrd's down-South-jukin' oeuvre is their musical Rosetta Stone.
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