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Dan Cunningham | Out Of My Mind - Single

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United States - West Virginia

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Folk: Appalachian Folk Blues: Finger-Picked Guitar Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Out Of My Mind - Single

by Dan Cunningham

A tragic story from the Appalachian coalfields in the 1920's, set against a backdrop of labor unrest and violence. And trains. Must have trains!
Genre: Folk: Appalachian Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Out of My Mind
3:54 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Dan has set about to create a new kind of Appalachian music with an aggressive finger-picking guitar style as the backbone. On "Out Of My Mind", Dan's full-bodied guitar sound with a swampy-rural flavor sets the perfect backdrop for this tragic tale from the mountains.

**This song was a regional finalist in the New Song/Mountain Stage songwriting contest and an Independent Music Award finalist in the Story Song category.**

OUT OF MY MIND is a tragic tale from the Appalachian coal-fields
The story told in this song is fictional, but the background is drawn from the history of coal mining in West Virginia around 1920. When the miners attempted to unionize, the mining company would hire companies like the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency to provide security. Among other duties, these "hired guns" would evict miners (and their families) from company housing when they no longer worked for the company. All of the possessions of the miner's family might be literally stacked in the street. A miner might lose his job for involvement union organizing, and of course, a dead man was no longer an employee. In this song, the narrator tries to stop his mother's eviction and the confrontation ends in violence.
(--from the song--)
“The Baldwin-Felts came calling
The week my daddy died
Put my momma on the street
I tried my best to help her but I killed a man instead”

CONCERNING TRAINS (and this song) - In those narrow valleys of the coal fields, there may be a road, a creek or river, and a railroad track, with scant room for much else on that narrow ribbon of "flat" land between the mountains. The sound of the train winding through the valley is part of the environment. It is the background music for every activity in those small communities. Of course, we end the song with some coal train imagery.
(--from the song--)
“I set out on the rails tonight
I have to get away
the wheels, they click, the lonely whistle blows
A snake of coal cars follows me, black as my wicked deed”

"Out Of My Mind" is copyright 2010 pickndawg music
Guitar, vocal, and percussion: Dan Cunningham
Recorded at the Boom Closet, Morgantown WV
Mixing/mastering at Moviesound Studios, Parkersburg WV
Engineer: David Traugh

You can search the internet for more information West Virginia coal wars and the Baldwin Felts Detective Agency.
A good overview of the 1920-1921 Mine War is provide in a book: THUNDER IN THE MOUNTAINS by Lon Savage
The labor unrest leading up to and including the Matewan Massacre is dramatized in the move MATEWAN, directed by John Sales

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.
Despite drifting from rock, to country to jazz; to blues, Bach and back again, Dan's own music did not 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. 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) Lance DeMers (Hannah's Prayer), John Fischer, Jenny Allinder, Ted Sandquist and others.
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, which received glowing 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 music. The songs received recognition in several songwriting competitions.
Dan's third CD WAYFARING STRANGER (2006), is a showcase of traditional storytelling mixed with a touch of contemporary acoustic texture. It placed #3 among independent releases in the 2007 Reader's Survey on Kweevak.com.
The fourth CD, BACK TO MOGANTOWN gets back to the basics with finger-picking guitar at it's core. We're a little closer to the hills here, the songs having a rural flavor and subject matter that flows in an Appalachian vein. Also included is a little light-hearted homage to my town - Morgantown WV.

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.” www.southofmainstream.com
"Dan Cunningham plays his guitar the way a man loves a woman---
with heart and caring and affection." Richard Fuller

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)
Wayfaring Stranger (2006)
Back To Morgantown (2008)

Dan has performed/recorded with the following recording artists:
Phil Keaggy
Phil Madeira
John Fischer
Ted Sandquist
Nedra Talley Ross(Ronettes)
Robin Kessinger
Lance DeMers(Wall Brothers, Hannah's Prayer)
Lynn Nichols(Chagall Guevarra)
Jenny Allinder



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