2004 VIEWER'S CHOICE WINNER ON KWEEVAK.COM
I THINK OF HOME
"We journey, yet feel the tug of home"
"Noteworthy: Dan’s professional, heart-stirring presentation and his introspecting poetry catapult folk Appalachian Music to a new, majestic level of style..."
"The guitar is outstanding! I’m talking great technique, great emotion and inventive playing. This CD has an interesting mix of folk, classical and jazz influences." "...let me say that this CD is really an excellent example of great musical art."
"Dan Cunningham is an impressive guitarist who isn’t afraid to explore different styles or mix them up. I THINK OF HOME ranges from Appalachian jazz styles (“Take Your Time”) to country/Latin (“Beach Song”) to '60’s protest songs (“The Wind is Up”). The title track sounds almost Celtic.“Porch Blues” is exactly that blues with a view from the back porch in the South."
"Cunningham, a very good guitarist and singer, knows how to use the quality of his voice to the advantage of his music, even though he does not need to use much of his voice, as the majority of the album is instrumental"
"Cunningham shows restraint and understatement and sparkles with more than a few scintillating moments"
"The CD starts with the strongest expressions, with subtle guitar pieces, with songs on top of it, some cello, double acoustic guitar. Favourite there are the beautiful and subtle “Plant a Garden”, a quietly flowing warm stream reflection like in a jazzfolk wave, followed by the simple and beautiful cello and harp improvisational composition of “Across the summer’s flowered fields”, and the fine short idea of impressionist double tracked guitar-fingerpicking of “Seculed Pooling Stream” with some cello, and water streaming."
---Gerald Van Waes, Radioshow "Psyche Van Het Folk"
"The overwhelming mood is that of honest, thoughtful contentedness -- and that’s what makes it so appealing, even though it’s not my usual musical bag. Dan Cunningham makes sincerely charming music. This guy is happy taking it easy, doing his thing and it comes off in the music. And he’s a pretty skilled musician, to boot."
A few notes on the tunes:
DEEP FOREST JOURNEY, was a finalist in the March 2004 Song Of The Year Contest. THE WIND IS UP received Honorable Mention in the Billboard Song Contest. Three song entries from the CD qualified Dan for the finals of the FestvALL division of the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest in June 2005.
---Reviewer comments about DEEP FOREST JOURNEY on c0nsensus.com:
"Right off the bat this is the kind of stuff I live to find on indie sites online ... brilliantly well played, recorded ... great skill .. great intonation and articulation ... it's really no wonder this artist is as highly praised as he is ... and no wonder he's played alongside of some of the worlds best. WTG Dan .. this one is a major league keeper."
"It is indeed an expertly recorded and brilliantly realized instrumental with spellbinding guitar work that is not flashy or complicated... Simply delightful".
"An atmospheric and effective instrumental, demonstrating once again that less is more."
"Just listen to the extremely good recording to the recording. Excellent."
"The recording is excellent, and the guitar playing is flawless."
---ABOUT THE CD
I THINK OF HOME recounts our journeys in life and the longings for home we carry with us. The expressive use of acoustic guitar, cello, and celtic harp is punctuated by vocals and occasional bass, drums, fiddle and clarinet. The lyrics take us to a private place seldom visited in the hustle of our day, and still make space for some fun.
This "New Appalachian" music has it's main roots in the authentic expressions of mountain culture. But it also draws on a diverse vocabulary of styles while creating a vivid rural portrait. Part instrumental, part vocal, the lyrics are poetry from a deep well of experience.
At an early age, Dan spent long hours listening to a 50's era Zenith console, playing and replaying the the one 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.
Dan drifted in a musical wilderness of rock, country, and jazz, searching for that elusive paradise of musical truth. And then, one late night lying 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. 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).
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) Lance DeMers (Hannah's Prayer), John Fischer, Jenny Allinder, Ted Sandquist and others. But it wasn't until 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. I THINK OF HOME builds on that foundation with the inclusion of many vocal tracks, like the stories of a wandering stranger setting his poetic longings to music.
The Dominion Post has described Dan's playing as "guitar genius" and by Ben Ohmart of Music Dish as "luscious."
"Dan Cunningham plays his guitar the way a man loves a woman---with heart and caring and affection." Richard Fuller