“Dan Cunningham gives a lasting impression as a soulful and technically adept acoustic guitarist, who with small but fine instrumental numbers like Whitewater, Chasing Clowns, or Battle Cry of Freedom, draws rich atmospheric pictures that remind one of the early works of Leo Kottke.“
“As pickers go, Dan Cunningham’s a pickin’ virtuoso.”
WAYFARING STRANGER placed in the top ten of the 2007 Kweevak.com Reader's Survey of independent releases. In fact, Dan's recording came pretty dawg-gone close to the top, grabbing the #3 spot!
Finger-picking acoustic guitarist Dan Cunningham performs original tunes influenced by the Appalachian story-telling tradition yet exhibiting a range of musical styles. Also included are guitar instrumentals; well known tunes like "Battle Cry Of Freedom" and "Wayfaring Stranger" along with a some memorable originals.
Who is Dan Cunningham?
At an early age, Dan spent long hours listening to a 50's era Zenith console, playing and replaying the only recordings available; a 45 rpm single each of Eddie Arnold and Fats Domino, and the 78's of Dinah Shore and Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony. The imprint on an impressionable young mind was profound, and you might say he never recovered.
Drifting from rock, to country to jazz; to blues, Bach and back again, Dan's own musical voice was slow to develop. And then, one late night laying awake in a fleabag motel, Dan saw the light. It turned out to the flickering neon sign from "Murph's Café" next door. As fate would have it, the very next day as Dan was dining at that same café, savoring the only item on the menu he could afford; a small order of chili-cheese fries. His eyes were drawn to the Elvis portraits in black velvet, and just below, a small smeared blackboard with the lunch special, "Murph's Bologna Burger". At that moment inspiration struck and would have knocked Dan's socks off, had he been wearing any. The central question was clear....why top your burger with bologna and not chili? It was time to play real music, music that tops off the meaty taste of life like chili on a flame grilled hamburger still dripping with the satisfying essence of fullness and staining the paper wrapper with the abundant excess.
It was from this point the distinct and varied music he called "New Appalachian" began to come forth. (As along as he stayed away from the fifth).
Over the years Dan has performed/recorded with Phil Keaggy (Grammy nominee and Dove award winner), Robin Kessinger (1985 National Flatpicking Champion), Nedra Talley Ross (Ronettes), Phil Madeira (Nashville songwriter, recording artist), among others.
In the late 1990's that Dan began to concentrate on his own music, culminating in the release of Dan's first CD,INTO THE FLOW, in 2001. The CD received positive reviews and was a “Viewer’s Choice” award winner on Kweevak.com. His second CD, I THINK OF HOME, built on this musical vision, expanding the range of expression for Appalachian-based music. The songs received recognition in several songwriting competitions.
Dan's current release, WAYFARING STRANGER (2006), is a showcase for his songwriting and performing abilities. Traditional storytelling is combined with shades of contemporary sounds with an acoustic texture.
The Dominion Post has described Dan's playing as "guitar genius" and by Ben Ohmart of Music Dish as "luscious."
“The guitar is outstanding! I’m talking great technique, great emotion and inventive playing.”
"Dan Cunningham plays his guitar the way a man loves a woman, with heart and caring and affection."
Courts of the King (1976) Ted Sandquist
Emerging (1977) Phil Keaggy Band
Let The Whole Earth (1984) Ted Sandquist
Be My Refuge (1985) Ted Sandquist
Not For Flatpickers Only (1986) Robin Kessinger
Re-Emerging (2000) Phil Keaggy Band
Into The Flow (2001)
Thread Of Healing (2002) Karen Taylor
I Think Of Home(2003)