Luke Cunningham
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Luke Cunningham

Nashville, TN | Established. Jan 01, 2009

Nashville, TN
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Country Singer/Songwriter

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Aug
12
Luke Cunningham @ The Evening Muse

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC

Jul
20
Luke Cunningham @ The Bluebird Cafe

Nashville, TN

Nashville, TN

Jul
16
Luke Cunningham @ Private Show

Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC

Music

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In early October, Charleston-based songwriter Luke Cunningham had to hustle like a maniac after he heard the news that he’d been accepted by the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) to attend the 2012 Lester Sill Songwriters Workshop in Los Angeles in November. He was one of 14 songwriters chosen across the country to attend the month-long gathering.

“About a year ago, I made a big personal commitment to really put myself out there for any and all opportunities, no matter how much effort it takes,” Cunning ham says. “I submitted a brief thing I wrote about my music and career to ASCAP, and then I kind of forgot about it. One morning, I was having my coffee, and my phone rang. It was an L.A. number, and I thought it was my friend, so like a dumbass I answered it like, ‘Hey, what’s up, bro?’ It actually was a guy from ASCAP calling to let me know that I was accepted to the workshop. I was unbelievably flattered.”

Luke Cunningham in the studio (provided)
Luke Cunningham in the studio (provided)
Cunningham spent the better part of 2012 performing in town and up and down the East Coast in support of his well-produced debut album Heart Pressure, a guitar-based collection of melodic power-pop, Americana, and rock ‘n’ roll. He regularly performed solo shows, and he tightened up his new band with Micah Nichols on lead guitar Christian Wood on bass, and Ben Scott on drums.

Cunningham and his bandmates have already started recording their next album at a home studio in Summerville owned by Needtobreathe bassist Seth Bolt. Engineer Neil B. Young has overseen most of the basic track sessions.

Cunningham and his guitarist recently recorded and released a poppy country-rocker titled “Bad Habits.” It’s available for a limited time as a free download at Cunningham’s web site.

“It’s a country tune I wrote with Micah Nichols and Neil B. Young for the purpose of pitching to a country artist in Nashville,” Cunningham says. “The response so far has been great for it, so we’ve recently added it to the band’s set list at shows.”

“This next album will be almost a pop/country record,” Cunningham adds. “I have a record’s worth of stuff like that. There’ll be a lot of songs about California, for sure. I’ve thought about going for a specific style but I come up with stuff that’s all over the place. Sometimes I wake up with a country line in my head. Sometimes it’s a rock line. Sometimes I the most 13-year-old-girl/Katy Parry melody gets stuck in my head, too. I’ve decided not to suppress any of it. As far as songwriting goes, all bets are off.”

Despite recent stints in big music scene cities, Cunningham has stuck with Charleston as his home base. He loves performing and working with musician buddies in New York, Nashville, and L.A., but he’s determined to remain in the Lowcountry as a resident.

“L.A. and New York are great, but I can make a living playing music here, and I can get the time to write songs, too. In Nashville, I’d probably have to get a job at Kinko’s to make rent money.”

“I want nothing more than to create an avenue for my songs and what I write and who I write with,” he adds. “I want to get the exposure and potential placements and pulsing opportunities that somebody in L.A. or New York gets — but without me having to physically be there in those cities. Charleston is home to me, and it inspires me. I’m hoping that this opportunity [with ASCAP] to collaborate and network with these artists will allow me to make these bonds and further my career without having to uproot.”

Cunningham had about a month to prepare for his trip — and that included earning and saving enough extra money to support a full month off from performing many of his regular shows in town. He booked a pile of what he calls “pay-the-rent” gigs at local bars and watering holes, and he even arranged a few special weekend shows where he could fly from L.A. to Charleston for quick weekend gigs with his band.

This week marks the end of the Lester Sill Songwriters Workshop in L.A. At each session, songwriters and producers joined the attendees and sat down, one-on-one, to check out their songs.

“They answered questions and made suggestions,” Cunningham says. “They brought in publishing people and attorneys to meet and make sure you had all of your ducks in a row. They really encouraged the songwriters to write songs together, too. Each person there had their own style. There were all sorts of songwriters and musicians. Katy Perry’s guitarist was in there. I did a critique/writing session with Priscilla Renae, who wrote Rhianna’s ‘California King Bed’ and ‘Who Says’ by Selina Gomez, among many others. Last week, it was Dan Wilson of Semisonic. He wrote Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ and cowrote ‘Home’ by Dierks Bentley.”

One of the key requirements of the workshop was to compose one or two songs with one other songwriter by the month’s end. Cunningham partnered with Jules Larson, an L.A. musician whose songs have been in programs like Pretty Little Liars, Grey’s Anatomy, and a few feature films.

Luke Cunningham in the studio (provided)
Luke Cunningham in the studio (provided)
“The dynamics were awesome, and I even got in touch with my inner 13-year-old chick and wrote pop/chick tunes, which has been fun and something outside of the box for me,” Cunningham says.

“This month and the experience has been one of the best, most rewarding and insightful things I’ve done in my career,” he adds. “The fact that I got to write and sit among those 14 people — and spend time writing with, being critiqued and mentored by literally the best in this business — is something that I can’t begin to place a value on. It was surprising to hear this in L.A., but every top songwriter I spoke with said the same thing about success, and it mirrors the way I approach things. And the consensus was this: Write good songs, and they’ll find a home. The songs are everything, and if you write good songs and strive to be a good person and have character, then people will be willing to help further your career.”

Cunningham flies back to Charleston this weekend for a one-off show at the Mt. Pleasant Wild Wing Cafe, and then he leaves for Nashville to play the Bluebird and do some co-writing.

“The Wild Wing show is something we specifically wanted to do because I’ve been gone for over a month and to go that long without playing a show literally kills us,” Cunningham says. “Plus, we love playing live and we wanted to do a show in Charleston between my time in L.A. and Nashville since our next in town show may not be until the first of the year or later. I also wanted to do it because Rob Lamble [of Ear for Music] is involved. Not to get mushy, but for years Rob has been a bastion for the cause as far as local music goes and his support of me and the band has been nothing short of amazing.”

Cunningham and his band will travel to Nashville this Sunday to perform at the legendary Bluebird Cafe. Look for an online documentary on the making of Cunningham’s Heart Pressure next month. Stay tuned for more. - Metronome Magazine


Independent songwriter Luke Cunningham is an artist who has managed to work his way up in the industry, touring with such acts ad The Fray and Gin Blossoms. His 2012 album Heart Pressure turned the heads of many listeners.

ARTIST: Luke Cunningham

SONG: Songs About California (feat Cary Ann Hearst of ‘Shovels & Rope’)


BIRTHDATE: January 15th

HOMETOWN: Kuttawa, KY

CURRENT LOCATION: Charleston SC

AMBITIONS: To continue making a living writing/playing music while one day supporting a family by doing what I love.

TURN-OFFS: Chronic name-droppers. Store-bought moonshine. And people who ask “Where’s the last place you had it?” whenever you lose something.

TURN-ONS: A Telecaster through a Fender amp. Truck stops that sell t-shirts. Accents—regardless of where they are from. Fellow Cracker Barrel enthusiasts. Word association and pun-centered humor. And any country song possessing a storyline instead of some guy telling you how ‘jacked up’ his truck is.

DREAM GIG: Ryman Auditorium. I grew up outside of Nashville so obviously the sheer greatness & unparalleled history of that room has delightfully haunted me since childhood.

FAVORITE LYRIC: “If heartaches was commercials, we’d all be on TV.”-John Prine

CRAZIEST PERSON I KNOW: A guy I knew while living in LA called Cracker Watch. He was convinced there was a phone booth in West Hollywood that could teleport him into Lindsay Lohan’s living room and that the Griffith Observatory was secretly being used to turn humans into commercial dog food. Did I mention he wore a saltine cracker permanently rubber-banded to the top of his wristwatch?

SONG I WISH I WROTE: ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina’ by Ryan Adams. Aside from its geographic references that hit home for me, this tune–and many of his others–go to show how you can manage to tell a damn good story with just a few simple chords.

5 PEOPLE I’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH: Mark Twain, Elvis, Abe Lincoln, Paul McCartney, Teddy Roosevelt

MY FAVORITE CONCERT EXPERIENCE: Sitting front row at City Winery in New York City a few years back watching Steve Earle perform. It’s a smaller venue, the setting was more akin to a ‘listening room’ type atmosphere and the laid back format of the set made it feel like I was watching him play in his living room. Hearing him tell the stories behind the tunes was pure bliss for a chump songwriter such as myself.

I WROTE THIS SONG: On a bar napkin in Los Angeles. I’d just flown in from New York after fruitlessly spending every last dollar I had trying to salvage my relationship with a girl living there. Broke and heartbroken, the only thing that made me laugh was the thought of how cliché I probably looked sitting there that day drowning my sorrows in a dimly lit bar on Sunset Blvd. I eventually grabbed a pen from the bartender, yet sadly everything I seemed to write down was absolute crap.

‘What’s the use?” I thought. “There’s already too many damn songs about California.”

Right then it clicked. That was the song.

By the time I had written the rest of it, my mind was already dead set on Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Ropesinging on the track with me. Aside from being one of my favorite people and one of the most talented folks I know, there was also something about the story and feel of the tune that simply belonged to Cary Ann from the beginning.

Unfortunately for us, at the time Shovels & Rope were out on the road. And though there was brief talk of someone else possibly singing on the track, the idea was quickly put to rest—instead we patiently waited for Cary Ann to get back. I’m glad we did. The song would not be what it is without her. - American Songwriter Magazine


Local singer/songwriter Luke Cunningham was recently chosen to participate in the Lester Sill Songwriters Workshop in Los Angeles. Hosted by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the workshop features 14 songwriters from across the country, and the whole thing is aimed at helping them establish industry contacts and learn the ropes of the music biz. But don't worry, La La Land isn't going to snatch up Cunningham just yet. "I'm at my best when I'm here, both creatively and personally," the singer says about his Lowcountry home. Currently, Cunningham and his band — Micah Nichols (guitar), Christian Wood (bass), and Ben Scott (drums) — will join Mississippi's Charlie Mars for a run of upcoming shows, including a gig at the Pour House on Thurs. Oct. 18, 9 p.m.. The two musicians connected a while back, and when Mars e-mailed him out of the blue and proposed doing a few shows together, Cunningham jumped at the chance. Cunningham and his band will play songs from his most recent release Heart Pressure, as well as two new tracks from a country record he's got in the works. Charlie Mars has been busy supporting Citizen Cope and appearing on VH1's Morning Buzz. - Charleston City Paper


Local songwriter Luke Cunningham has a knack for crafting solid rock songs. His affinity for classic power-pop and Americana-rock are quite evident on his new solo collection, Heart Pressure. Fans of Cunningham's previous project, indie-pop band Part Time Heroes, will dig the melodic twists, clever wordplay, and crashing guitar hooks from song to song.

In the vein of recent works by Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Kings of Leon, jangly guitars chime and sizzly cymbals wash across a pair of anthemic lead-off rockers, "For the Best" and "January Air." The slower "Faith in Me" marks the first of four sappier ballads, some of which resemble the mildest hits of the alternative pop charts of the mid '90s.

The sorrowful, stripped-down acoustic guitar-based ditty "Songs About California" stands out as one of Cunningham's more emotionally vulnerable moments as a singer. Peppered with extra slide guitar and mandolin, "Ones We Loved Before" carefully straddles the country and pop sides of the album. "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" is the feistiest rock tune of the bunch.

Producer and guitarist Micah Nichols (also of Crowfield) deserves praise for creating a balanced and shimmering production touch on Heart Pressure. The crisp quality of the backing instrumentation complements Cunningham's plain-man singing and laid-back style. There's hardly any bluster or angst on Heart Pressure, but there is plenty of charm and grace. For more info visit: www.lukecunninghammusic.com - Charleston City Paper


With the album “Heart Pressure,” Luke Cunningham laid down the gauntlet for local acts with a rock ‘n roll record that marries gifted songwriting with great instrumentation. The result is something that not only sounds great on the radio but can be carefully deconstructed and appreciated by even the most discriminating ear.

But not one to rest on his laurels, Cunningham just wrapped up tracking three weeks ago for his upcoming release that’s been nearly a year and a half in the making.

“My definition of success is constantly changing,” states Cunningham “so the goal for this record is to open the band up to a larger geographic area get us into new areas of the country.”

He lends part of the credit to his success to the musical incubator that Charleston has become.

Originally moving to Charleston in 2003, Cunningham has worked his way into the scene by working at merch tables and helping to move equipment, eventually getting opening gigs.

Now he’s the one returning the favors with Heart Pressure being named one of the top 5 local albums of the year by the Charleston Scene Magazine and Cunningham being nominated as 2012 Songwriter of the Year by the Charleston City Paper.

“Right now the scene in Charleston is better than its ever been, “ asserts Cunningham. “There have never been more national acts that call the city home.” The list continues to grow and this year appears to be a strong one for bands hailing from the Holy City.

Be sure check out Luke Cunningham and the rest of the great acts on the bill for the 5th annual Tasty Tomato Festival at City Roots in Columbia. Gates open at 4pm and tickets are $10. Come enjoy some homegrown tomatoes and tunes, its good for the soul. - South Carolina Music Guide


Charleston-based songwriter Luke Cunningham grew up just a few miles from Muhlenberg County, Ky., the grandson of a moonshiner and the son of a country lawyer and writer, storytellers both. As a child, he rode around with his dad in a "loud as shit and unsightly" old green Chevrolet truck called the Green Tomato. Looking out the window once, he noticed that the hillsides looked strange and he asked his dad, "Why do the hillsides look like a Dr. Seuss book?" Over a beer last week, the local songwriter choked up as he tried to explain how much his father's response has shaped his life.

"This town used to be a place where your grandfather would come to vacation. It was called Paradise," Cunningham remembers his father saying. "And the coal company came and they basically ruined it all."

As he relayed this moment to me, like any good storyteller, his face told the story as much as his words.

"In the Green Tomato, I can feel the seat covers. I can tell you every detail," he says. "The stickshift, the smell of the vents. There wasn't good AC in it, there was a hint of gasoline in it, and I just remember him telling me this and him putting in the John Prine cassette tape, you know, 'Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County,' and that song, it's hard for me to play. That was my dad and me. That's where I grew up. That's truth. But even better, it's a tribute to John Prine. He wrote something that is just the epitome of honesty, and I can't even talk about it, it's crazy how amazing that song is and how special it is to me."

The storytelling tradition is apparent on each track of Cunningham's new album, Heart Pressure. When you sit with him, his storyteller manner is inescapable. In the new documentary about the recent Mac'n at the Drome benefit concert for his close friend Mac Leaphart, Cunningham's stories — and the way he told them — almost steal the show.

"I had an edge because I lived with Mac when we went through some of the worst times of our lives together," Cunningham says about living with Leaphart in Los Angeles. "When you have that much time with somebody, you see the best and worst of them, and you see some hilarious shit too."

They joked about the strangeness of their L.A. peers, chuckling that,"The only two things they talk about are traffic and the weather: the only two goddamn things that never change." But the period was hard on both of them. They slept on couches or in cars, and they even considered living in garages and storage facilities.

"It was miserable, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me," Cunningham says, laughing at the rough go they had. "There are songs on Heart Pressure that hint to it. And it's not flattering to admit, but not having any money at all, and there's a 7-11 on the corner, and for an entire week, eating hot dogs and coffee, and the things that'll do to your digestive system are something you don't wish on anybody."

Cunningham remembers his rock bottom moment because he turned it into "Songs about California," the best track on the record, and because, he says, "I can never have a bad day after that."

After saving money for a new apartment for months, he got a call from his on-and-off girlfriend in New York, who wanted to give it one more chance. So he spent all his money to get there, only to have her change her mind — and have Delta lose his guitar and luggage.

"We're in this apartment in Little Italy in the summer, and it's hotter than two rats fucking in a wool sock in that place," he says. "And every day she would take the one pair of clothes I had down to the Chinese laundromat. Meanwhile, I'd sit ass-naked in the bedroom of this woman I was no longer with, and it was just this crushing thing, especially because I knew I wasn't going to have a place to live when I got back."

After Leaphart picked him up at the airport, Cunningham remembers, "We're coming out of Burbank and through the valley, and I remember consciously sitting there and saying, 'I know for a fact this is the worst day of my life.'"

In the middle of a freak rainstorm, at a bar on Sunset Drive, Cunningham realized his week had been like a great country song. "And I'm like, yeah, I need to write it," he recalls. "But I said, fuck it man, there's too many goddamn songs about California. Everyone's got a California song, and it pisses me off. I thought, well, that's the hook."

Heart Pressure is so named because Cunningham says the songs involve the "push-pull" of relationships and life pressures. On "For the Best," he thought of how the farm boys in Kentucky and their high school girlfriends always split up when the girls go off to state college, and how, as he says, "sometimes things happen to demolish relationships that have nothing to do with love."

Crowfield guitarist Micah Nichols plays often with Cunningham. Nichols stepped in as the producer during the Heart Pressure sessions, and he tried to draw the best out of Cunningham along the way. With his trademark wit and self-deprecation, Cunningham says, "Look, I'm not Thom Yorke. I'd like to tell you that I pulled lyrics out of a hat and made a collage, but I'm not that cool. The majority of the song was there, but Micah would take it from the producer's standpoint and ball it up and kind of smash it on the floor in front of me. But he has a delicate way of saying, 'This is good, but let's rearrange the chord structure and do this,' and it always wound up being better that way."

During a recent Crowfield/Cunningham show in Wilmington N.C., Nichols and Cunningham performed a couple of Cunningham's new songs on the air at the alt-rock station Surf 98.3. A woman called in and told them she wanted to come out to see the show. "They'd already given away the tickets, but the DJ gave her another ticket anyway, and she was like, 'Well OK, I'm really short, my name's Mary,'" Cunningham says. A small woman walked in when he was one song into his set. "She's in her 60s, and she's really short," Cunningham remembers. "We started into the song we played on the radio and said, 'This is for Mary,' and her eyes just beamed up, and she's doing this thing with her head where you can tell she's really taking it all in. I go over to her after the show and — not to be cheesy, but this is one of those things, things like this can fuel you as a songwriter for a long time — she goes, 'I haven't been downtown in years. I was a victim of sexual abuse in West Virginia and I've been so introverted that I never go out. I felt like myself for the first time in years tonight."

Random connections and experiences like this fuel Cunningham's song ideas. He savors the moments.

"You never know how you can indirectly touch people and never know it," he continues. "I asked my dad one time, 'What's the definition of success, how will I know if I made it?' and he goes, 'Did it matter to someone?' And I think about that every day. When it stops mattering to someone, I'll stop doing it."

Cunningham recently performed a new song titled "Between a Rock and a Heartache" at the Charleston Sound Sessions, which aired on the Bridge at 105.5 this week. See 1055thebridge.com for more. - Charleston City Paper


It has been an interesting few years for musician Luke Cunningham. The former frontman for the Rock Hill band Part Time Heroes crisscrossed the Southeast with the band before its breakup in 2009. Cunningham then found himself composing music for film under the band name Kentucky Shine before starting to gather ideas for a solo album.

The results of his latest project can be heard on "Heart Pressure," and fans of the singer-songwriter will be happy to know that time seems only to have enhanced Cunningham's musical talent.

Produced by Crowfield guitarist Micah Nichols (who also plays on the album), "Heart Pressure" is an album full of songs that obviously come from deep within Cunningham. The emotions range from upbeat, as on "For the Best" and "January Air," to melancholy -- "Give This Up" and "Amnesia." The best moment on the album, though, comes when Cunningham joins forces with Cary Ann Hearst for the song "Songs About California." I could listen to the two of them sing that particular track all day.

For fans of Americana music, Cunningham's compositions will go down easy. And if there was any question as to whether Cunningham could go it alone, "Heart Pressure" should quiet that nonsense. - Charleston Scene


“Luke Cunningham is one of those rare
singers that seems to be aware that he
possesses some serious songwriting chops,
and yet refuses to let it go to his head. As if
his songwriting talent isn’t enough, when
Cunningham gets up on stage to perform,
he delivers a satisfying and energetic live
show. Cunningham is definitely going
places.” - Charleston Post & Courier


Often when an artist first releases a new album, they throw an album release party to introduce the new material to fans.

Local musician Luke Cunningham said he just doesn't get that concept.

"I never understood why someone would want to get up and play a bunch of songs no one knows," said Cunningham, who recently spoke to Charleston Scene about his own new release, "Heart Pressure."



Provided
Luke Cunningham

In trying to change how people think about CD release parties, Cunningham is throwing one Friday at Midtown Bar & Grill on King Street, a little over a month after the album was actually released.

To be honest, the guy has a point.

Thanks to airplay of the songs "For the Best" and "Songs About California" on The Bridge at 105.5FM, the Lowcountry has had a chance to get to know Cunningham's style of Southern-infused rock. The album beautifully showcases the artist's songwriting and performing style, and also features an appearance by fellow local artist Cary Ann Hearst on "Songs About California."

Now that folks have had a chance to marinate in his music, Cunningham hopes the songs will be more familiar to listener's ears at Friday's show.

Had Cunningham's geographical upbringing alone determined his musical taste, he could very well have ended up as a mainstream country artist.

Raised in Kuttawa, Ky., Cunningham's musical choices were limited growing up.

"I had a father who listened to the Kingston Trio and a mother who enjoyed beach music," Cunningham said. "In Kuttawa, we were able to pick up two stations; one of them country and one modern rock. I like to say I was living in a country music song growing up, but I was also first in line to buy the new Alice in Chains album."

Cunningham took up music and eventually found himself fronting the popular band Part Time Heroes, which split up in 2009 after a very successful run here in the South.

Cunningham then fell into writing music for an independent film that was released last year.

When it came time to record the songs that would eventually become "Heart Pressure," Cunningham admits he didn't have any particular formula in mind.

"I had some songs that were half-written, which we then rewrote in the studio," he said.

While he's extremely happy with how the album turned out, Cunningham admits to being most proud of "Song About California."

"That one was actually written in California after a breakup," Cunningham said. "I had the hardest time trying to decide which Cary Ann Hearst take to use on the song because they were all amazing."

Although the two singers recorded their parts separately, their chemistry makes it sound as if they are face to face in a studio.

"Heart Pressure" was produced by another local musician, Micah Nichols, who is best known for his guitar-slinging for Crowfield. Nichols also plays guitar on the album, and in addition, Cunningham is backed by drummer Ben Scott and bassist Christian Wood.

"It's a great collection of musicians stylistically," Cunningham said, "and Friday night will be a great chance for people to see a big rock show that thrives on substance." - Charleston Post & Courier


Although Luke Cunningham grew up in Lyon County, it’s taken nearly 10 years for the songwriter to return to his Kentucky roots.

The Charleston, S.C.-based singer said his band’s albums of- fered the straightforward sounds of rock ’n’ roll until recently when he began to reflect on his past and gravitate more toward country music.

“You get older and move away and start thinking back to these things,” he said. “I found myself writing more and more about growing up, even though I never appreciated it for what it was at the time.”

Cunningham and his band — drummer Ben Scott, bassist Christian Wood, and guitar player Micah Nichols — will share their music with Cunningham’s home- town on Saturday during the 13th annual Thunder Over Eddy Bay Independence Day celebration.

Cunningham showed an inter- est in music from a young age. He recalls writing songs and asking mother Paula Cunningham for guitar lessons. There wasn’t any- where nearby that offered lessons, he said, so he found his father Bill Cunningham’s guitar in the attic and began playing it by ear.

It wasn’t until his college years at Winthrop University in South Carolina that a practical joke put Cunningham on the path to being a professional musician, he said.

The songwriter said he’d been petrified to share his music until his roommates signed him up for an open mic night as a prank. Af- ter his first public performance, the venue’s owner asked him to come back and perform every week.

“It all happened within a rela- tively short amount of time,” Cunningham said of his musical career.

By his third year of college, Cunningham was on tour so often that he had no idea how he gradu- ated, he said.

Cunningham’s 2012 solo debut, “Heart Pressure,” met with criti- cal acclaim from Charleston re- viewers and also garnered nation- al attention. He was chosen by the American Society of Authors and Composers as one of 14 nationally selected songwriters to be a part of the organization’s workshop in Los Angeles.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Cunningham has kept busy recording a follow-up to “Heart Pressure” and touring the South- east. He said he’s looking forward to showing folks in his hometown — whom he credits with inspir- ing the songs that will appear on his upcoming album — what he’s been doing over the past decade. - The Paducah Sun


A nationally known songwriter will bring his talent home Saturday when his band performs at the 13h annual Thunder Over Eddy Bay.

The event will mark the first performance in his home county by Kuttawa native Luke Cunningham and his rock band based in Charleston S.C.

“We’re really excited to welcome Luke home after all his success in South Carolina,” said Mandy Carney, co-owner of Eddy Creek Marina Resort and host of Thunder.

Cunningham said he’s honored to be playing his hometown’s biggest annual Independence Day celebration and firework display—Thunder Over Eddy Bay.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more honored or excited to play a show,” he said. “I grew up here and remember watching the fireworks every Fourth of July at Eddy Creek since I was a kid. To be able to return and share the music I’ve been making for the last 10 years with old friends, family and the folks I grew up with is surreal.”

The concert and festivities begin at 5 p.m. and are “a welcomed break in the middle of a busy summer” Cunningham said. While touring the Southeast, Cunningham and his band are recoding the follow-up to his 2011 release, “Heart Pressure.” The band garnered two radio hits with “Songs About California” and “For The Best,” and the latter’s music video features imagery of Cunningham’s western Kentucky hometown.

“Heart Pressure” brought Cunningham critical acclaim among his Carolina contemporaries. Charleston City Paper nominated him as 2012 ‘Songwriter of The Year’ and The Charleston Post and Courier followed suit by naming the album as one of the ‘Top 5 Records of 2012.’

For most of 2012-13 Cunningham has toured along with such national acts as Donovan Frankenreiter, Drivin N Cryin, Carbon Leaf, ALO and Old Crow Medicine Show. He also spent last November in Los Angeles after being chosen one of 14 songwriters nationally to attend the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ 2012 Lester Sills Songwriting Workshop.

“A lot has happened since I moved away from western Kentucky,” Cunningham said. “Music has allowed me to do a lot of exciting things, see a lot of amazing places and seek out some unreal opportunities. To be able to take the stage with my band mates in my hometown and play songs that were literally inspired by the awesome people and places surrounding us is something that’s going to be very special to me.”

The hard work however doesn’t end when Cunningham leaves the stage. Aside from writing his own material, he also owns, operates and administrates his own music publishing company Crackerwatch Music formed in 2008. The company has had songs placed in multiple international films and television programs and in May, a handful of Cunningham’s own tunes were featured in the reality show Rescue Vet when it debuted on Animal Planet HD in Europe.

He said the project was as “challenging as it was fulfilling—and even a bit humorous.”

“It’s one of the many beauties of music,” Cunningham said. “When you write a song, there’s literally no boundaries, borders or limits to who may hear it or where it might end up.”

Read more: Herald Ledger - Kuttawa native to perform at Thunder Over Eddy Bay - The Herald Ledger


Beset by the question, “What have I done that matters?” and the conviction he could make a difference in others’ lives, songwriter Luke Cunningham took action. The result: the How the Other Half Gives Tour, which makes a stop in Cunningham’s hometown of Kuttawa on November 9.

The five-state tour takes Cunningham and fellow songwriters Tyler Mechem, Emily Lynch and Ryan Bonner to 13 cities to highlight local nonprofit organizations, raise funds and do some hands-on volunteering. The How the Other Half Gives Tour will pool all money donated via the tour website, ticket sales from each show, donations at shows and private contributions and divide all of the profits among 12 charities. By doing so, the songwriters hope to promote a sense of social obligation and a unified effort where artists, charities, fans, donors and businesses share one mission: to improve the lives of others.

While in western Kentucky, the artists will spend the day volunteering at Bright Life Farms in Princeton. One of the 12 beneficiaries of the tour, Bright Life Farms serves mentally challenged adults and is funded solely through community donations. Once night falls, Cunningham and his tour mates will perform from 7 to 11 p.m. at The Oasis Southwest Grill in Kuttawa.
Cunningham, a 1999 graduate of Lyon County High School in Eddyville, spent years touring with national acts such as The Fray, Gin Blossoms, Will Hoge and Athenaeum, and has, in the past year, written music for two films. Numerous songs off his upcoming album, Heart Pressure, are featured alongside rock legend Jimmy Buffet in the 2011 documentary He Smiles, and Cunningham wrote the soundtrack for the 2010 Canadian film Blood, Sweat and Beers, which has been showcased in film festivals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

A die-hard UK basketball fan, Cunningham admits he intentionally books his performances for the renowned New York Singer/Songwriter Sessions on dates when the Wildcats are playing in the New York/New Jersey area.
Armed with the power of music, Cunningham and the How the Other Half Gives Tour set out to prove, as Cunningham puts it, “how giving just a little bit of yourself can mean the world to someone else.” For more information or to make an online donation, visit www.howotherhalfgives.com.

For more information about Cunningham, visit www.lukecunninghammusic.com. - Kentucky Monthly


Local singer-songwriter Luke Cunningham recently released the single “How You’re Livin’” off his new EP, Kentucky.

Earlier in the summer, Cunningham was chosen by ASCAP for the Garth Brooks Songwriters Workshop in Nashville, which took place at the end of June.

As for the new album, Kentucky will be available at all major outlets on October 23.

You can check out the new single below. - Charleston City Paper


Discography

'Kentucky' EP by Luke Cunningham (2016)

'Heart Pressure' by Luke Cunningham (2011)

'The Demo Sessions' by Kentucky Shine (2009)

'Low & Out of Sight' by Luke Cunningham (2008)

'The Now or Never EP' by Part Time Heroes (2005)

'Elevator' by Part Time Heroes (2003)

'Worst Case Scenario' by Part Time Heroes (2000)

Photos

Bio

As an independent artist/songwriter Luke Cunningham has spent years on the road touring alongside such nationally-renowned acts as The Fray, Avett Brothers, Donovan Frankenreiter, Pat Benatar and countless others. Yet it would ultimately be the release of the songwriter's debut solo album Heart Pressure (2012) that first forced music fans and critics alike to sit up and take notice. 

Hailed by press as “a triumph fraught with emotion” and “a welcomed reminder of what songwriters used to be” the response to Heart Pressure and its ten story-driven songs were a swift and sweet sucker punch to the Carolina music scene; an artfully-crafted wake up call announcing both Cunningham’s arrival as an artist and a writer with something to say.

By year’s end, two songs from Heart Pressure (For The Best and Songs About California) were in permanent radio rotation throughout the Carolinas, despite having neither label support nor paid radio campaigns to support them.The latter of the two tunes—a duet performed with Cary Ann Hearst of the Americana Award-Winning act Shovels & Rope—would go on to become a top-requested song on Charleston SC’s 105.5FM The Bridge and the album named one of the ‘Top Five Albums of The Year’ by Charleston Scene Magazine.

Cunningham’s commitment to his craft didn’t go unnoticed either. 

Profiled in national publications such as American Songwriter Magazine and nominated ‘Songwriter of The Year’ by Charleston City Paper, he was also hand-picked the by ASCAP (American Society of Authors and Composers) to be one of just 14 nationally-selected songwriters for their prestigious Lester Sills Songwriters Workshop in Los Angeles. The experience would lead to multiple soundtrack and film placement opportunities for the South Carolina songsmith as well as the formation of his own self-ran/administrated music publishing company.

In 2016 Cunningham answered battle cries for a follow up to Heart Pressure by entering the studio and recording his latest EP Kentucky. Released in October, the six-song collection draws deep from the wells of bygone country while retaining a familiar taste of modern tones, anthemic choruses and the kind of addictively-catchy hooks Cunningham has come to be known for. 

Tipping its hat to the musical influences he grew up around in the rural tobacco fields of the Bluegrass State, the stories themselves—as well as Cunningham’s ability to spin a good yarn—leave the listener personally-invested in each tale that unfolds. The result is a sonically-masterful tightrope, traversing the genres of country, rock and Americana with grace and grit; proof that—in modern country music—one mustn’t always abandon ‘substance’ for the sake of ‘style.’

Today Luke Cunningham resides in Nashville TN where he currently works as an independent commercial songwriter. Cowriting with up-and-coming country acts, collaborating with new artists and working alongside music supervisors and producers for various TV/film projects, he continues to occasionally tour and is a regular at writers-in-the-round events and venues throughout Nashville.

His latest EP Kentucky is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and other online music retail stores.


For all news, music, tour dates and more visit: 

www.lukecunninghammusic.com


Band Members