Dan Cunningham | Appalachian Song

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United States - West Virginia

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Folk: Appalachian Folk Country: Americana Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Appalachian Song

by Dan Cunningham

The tragedy, beauty, and humor of those remote Appalachian Mountains come to life in songs with driving fingerstyle guitar. Traditional tunes (Angel Band, John Henry, Amazing Grace) with new tales of revival preachers, feuding clans , & fugitives
Genre: Folk: Appalachian Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. I Ain't No Pretty Boy No More
3:15 $0.99
2. Out of My MInd
3:53 $0.99
3. Angel Band
4:23 $0.99
4. Devil Anse
2:53 $0.99
5. West Virginia, My Home
3:43 $0.99
6. If I Left These Hills
4:33 $0.99
7. Mabel
4:44 $0.99
8. John Henry
2:22 $0.99
9. John Henry's Ghost
4:07 $0.99
10. Toy Truck
3:28 $0.99
11. Revival
3:17 $0.99
12. Amazing Grace
2:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“Wow what a great album! I love it!" - Sister Dorothy’s Music Blog

"I just listened to your Appalachian Song disc and I am very impressed...Hunter Hughes WHRO FM

"You are a mighty fine picker and singer, and the album is full of memorable songs and consummate musicianship."
- DJ Clark KSPC 88.7 FM

"I just listened to Pretty Boy and it's fab! I love the video too! This song will be the first to get a spin on my show.”
- Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin, host of Rogha Bhríde on 101.3 FM in Galway, Ireland

"I love the backhills/country feel this album has, it makes it unique for sure." - Matt WYCE 88.1 FM

"I like the songs, several of which I would like to use for my show Acoustic Traveler."
-Mike Schulte KRIM FM Payson AZ

Unless otherwise noted:
Dan Cunningham - guitar, vocal, cello, bass, mandolin, percussion

CD includes OUT OF MY MIND
( a tragic tale set in the coalfields of West Virginia in the 1920's)
-Regional finalist 2010 New Song/Mountain Stage contest
-Story Song finalist 2010 Independent Music Awards -Semi-Finalist Acoustic Roundtable 2011 Worldwide Search
-Semi-Finalist 2011 SONG OF THE YEAR contest
-Finalist JUST US FOLKS Awards
-2012 East Coast Songwriters Honorable Mention Americana/Folk
(original mix at Moviesound Studios by David Traugh)

APPALACHIAN SONG CD was a nominee for best CD (JUST US FOLKS awards)

Some old favorites on the CD also:
Angel Band (Libby Eddy on fiddle)
John Henry
Amazing Grace (guitar and cello)

Hazel Dickens' wonderful song WEST VIRGINIA, MY HOME
is performed by Dan with Libby Eddy on fiddle and Daria Jones (backup vocals)

I AIN'T NO PRETTY BOY NO MORE laments the inevitable;
we are all a little worse for wear if we hang around long enough

DEVIL ANSE is about the colorful patriarch of the Hatfield clan made famous from his family feud with the McCoys
"I loved the song Devil Anse as it refers to the Hatflelds and McCoys..." - Matt WYCE FM

IF I LEFT THESE HILLS recounts the perils of forsaking your mountain home

MABEL - yes, they get the blues back in the hills too. It ain't just Memphis, Chicago, or the bayou. Mabel was a finalist in the JUST PLAIN FOLKS AWARDS.
Joshua Arthurs on slide guitar

JOHN HENRY'S GHOST - working the C&O tunnel in Talbot WV, where John Henry has recently passed on
Libby Eddy on fiddle

TOY TRUCK - a Applachian Christmas song with Libby Eddy on fiddle

REVIVAL - experience the old-time tent revival and falling under God's spell
recorded at Moviesound Studios - David Traugh, producer

Other album credits
Recorded at Boom Closet
Portions recorded at Zone 8 Studio
Mixed and Mastered by Mark Poole at Zone 8 Studio
percussion by Evan Lintz
background vocals: Daria Jones


About Dan (and other stuff)
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
Drifting from rock, to country to jazz; to blues, Bach and back again, Dan's own
music failed 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. 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

Dan’s first solo CD, INTO THE FLOW, 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, including an
Honorable Mention in the Billboard song contest.

Dan's third CD, WAYFARING STRANGER (2006) placed third in Kweevak's Listener's
Choice Awards. One tune, "Big Gene", won Honorable Mention in the SONG OF THE
MONTH contest. The CD was a showcase for his songwriting abilities. Traditional
storytelling is mixed with a measured touch of contemporary sounds. Dan's
often-praised guitar skills shine brightly in these arrangements.

BACK TO MORGANTOWN (2008), is all acoustic. It features
his bone-janglin', brain twistin', finger-picking guitar. Original tunes by Dan
plus a few traditional favorites: "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" is meted out
on Dan's old acoustic guitar and the music ends with the old Scottish song,
"Annie Laurie" presented in a simple arrangement with guitar, vocal and cello.



to write a review

Charlie Read

An Appalachian Musical Documentary
Dan has added another chapter to his ongoing musical exploration and interpretation of the Appalachian culture, mood, and history. His love for its rich history, and the laughter and tears of its children - both remembered and forgotten - permeates the album. Along with self-penned tunes including the bluesy “Out of My Mind,” this West Virginia artist gives us his moving renditions of Hazel Dickens’ “West Virginia, My Home,” and the traditional “Angel Band.” A native of Appalachia will feel the heart pangs of the region’s colorful and often-painful heritage, and the outsider will experience a musical documentary of the same, through Dan’s skillful songwriting and musicianship.


Refined Simplicity
This recording captures a backwoods feel in a refined way. Lyrically you can feel like you could be in the living room of a little house or shack in the woods, experiencing just part of the life of a caricature in a novel you can’t put down. The musicianship captures the feel of the recording; just the right mix of simplicity and sophistication to keep ones ears interested in what might come next and feel comfortable with what you just hear. Sonically the recording is impeccable.

Tom Riffe

Appalachian Song Review
I have had the privilege of knowing Dan Cunningham for many years. We first met and collaborated professionally, touring in a pop music bar band together, during what might be an era best forgotten. Having said that, if you were there, you probably don’t remember it anyway.

Though we have traveled different paths musically, I have always appreciated Dan’s musicianship, both as a performer and as a composer. His lyrical melodies, fluid harmonies and varied instruments are beautifully woven together to form a delightful tapestry of sound.

Deceptively easy on the ear, Dan’s songs have a grace and a nuanced and complex elegance that belie their generally folksy stories and gentle humor. Then again, if you know Dan, it’s just what you would expect. If you have liked Dan’s earlier work, you are sure to enjoy this one, as well.

It is satisfying to know that my Dan Cunningham collection is once again complete; but one hopes that it is only temporarily so. Here’s to many more decades of great music making.

Thanks for the beautiful work, Dan! Please don’t keep us waiting long for your next project.

Tom Riffe

Mike Abel

An American Original
For the past 35+ years I have listened to, followed, and enjoyed the musical legacy of Dan Cunningham. Dan is truly An American Original. Dan combines his unique perspective with impeccable technique to create timeless music. He's not confined by "music styles," rather he interprets life through songs that defy categorization. As a result, Dan stands alone in his own genre of easily accessible, thoroughly enjoyable music. I can't wait for his next release!