Luke Cunningham, Kenny George Band – Tickets – The Evening Muse – Charlotte, NC – June 23rd, 2017

Luke Cunningham, Kenny George Band

A great night of Americana Rock n' Roll at the Muse...

Luke Cunningham

Kenny George Band

Fri, June 23, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

The Evening Muse

Charlotte, NC

$8.00 - $10.00

Tickets at the Door

Luke Cunningham
Luke Cunningham
At some point during a Luke Cunningham performance, the songwriter thanks the audience for their time by recalling an adage his father repeated to him as a child growing up in rural West Kentucky:

“My redneck old man always said,” begins Cunningham, “ that the most you can ever give someone is your time. So I’m grateful to each of you for giving me a lil’ bit of yours here tonight.”

The applause that follows is unforced. That’s because the same honesty, graciousness and ‘good ole boy’ rancor you feel when Cunningham is onstage can also be felt throughout the breadth of the songwriter's thirteen year career. Without gimmick nor damn given for passing trends, the Kentucky native is somehow naturally-believable; a trustworthy narrator engaging listeners via accessible emotion and songs ringing with authenticity.

What's witnessed is 'storytelling' in its truest form.

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. By the time he left college in 2003 he was already crisscrossing the country with his first band Part Time Heroes, cutting his teeth in a 15-passenger van and carving songs from the long nights and beer-soaked stages of the southeastern tour circuit. 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.

The emotionally-charged rock/Americana record 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 his dedication to ‘the song.’ Hailed by press as “a triumph fraught with emotion” and “a welcomed reminder of what songwriters used to be” the response to Heart Pressure—along with his band’s energetic live performances—quickly left little question as to whether Cunningham was simply another flicker incapable of catching fire.

By year’s end, two songs from Heart Pressure (For The Best and Songs About California) were in permanent radio rotation throughout the Carolinas, having achieved the feat without label assistance or paid radio campaigns. The latter of the two tunes—a duet performed with Cary Ann Hearst of the Americana Award-Winning act Shovels & Rope—went on to become a top-requested song on Charleston SC’s 105.5FM The Bridge and the album itself 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.

By 2015 it was clear Cunningham had found a devoted fan-base eager to hear more.

That October he answered the battle cries for a follow up to Heart Pressure by entering the studio to record his latest EP Kentucky. Released in 2016, the six-song collection draws deeply from the wells of bygone country while retaining a faint taste of the modern rock sound and anthemic hooks Cunningham has come to be so well 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—leaves the listener personally-invested in each tale as it unfolds. The result is a sonically-masterful tightrope, traversing the genres of country, rock and Americana with both grace and grit; proof that—in the modern era of country music—one mustn’t 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, Cunningham continues to occasionally tour and is a regular performer at writers-in-the-round events and music venues across Nashville.

Luke Cunningham’s latest EP Kentucky is available now on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and other online music retail stores.
Kenny George Band
Kenny George Band
Music’s elders and icons established the initial template for Rock ‘n’ Roll, but it’s the newer generation that keeps it thriving and moving forward. So credit the Kenny George Band for doing exactly that. Comprised of Kenny George (lead guitar, vocals, songwriter), Bucky Brown (drums, harmony vocals), Center Ely (steel guitar), Brooks Andrews (bass) and Scott Rankin (rhythm guitar, harmony vocals), this hardworking ensemble has earned their stripes the hard way. Performing an average of 150 to 180 shows per year throughout the heartland, they bring their music to the masses one gig at a time.

“Our goal has always been to connect with our audiences,” George insists. “Our music is honest and organic, and we deliberately avoid pretence. We may seem like a ragtag bunch, but there’s a passion, purpose and sincerity that underscores everything we do, and hopefully that’s apparent even the first time you hear us play.”

Hailing from Aiken, South Carolina, the Kenny George Band has created an indelible impression with fans throughout the Southeast and Midwest, playing 250 concerts in the last two years alone. They’ve travelled the highways and byways between North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Missouri, reconnecting with their fervent followers and picking up new fans along the way. Their explosive live performances have made them a band on the brink of a breakout, and it’s little wonder that in 2016, they were voted South Carolina Artists to Watch by the South Carolina Music Guide.

Tempered by the time they’ve spent on the road, the band’s latest album, Borrowed Trouble, looks at life, longing and relationships through the vast spectrum of constant tours and travel. Like the road itself, it dips and sways, advancing not in a straight line, but rather in a series of circuitous twists and turns that reveal a uniquely personal perspective every step along the way. These are songs infused with tattered circumstance and a view of life as seen looking out the windows of one’s touring van, where miles of highway offer plenty of time for reflection and contemplation. The music is underscored by a drive and determination that makes it both engaging and enlightening in equal measure. It’s melodic, it’s measured, and it’s often gritty, but it’s a sound that resonates in ways that are both tender and tenacious.

That’s no accident. George himself has been drawn to music most of his life. He picked up the violin at the age of eight, but didn’t take to formal lessons, so he then took up bass. Eventually though, he decided that guitar would be the better match. “My dad told me that the guitar players get all the girls,” he laughs. “So he bought me my first guitar as a gift when I graduated from junior high. I learned to make music on that guitar and I’m pleased to say I still have it to this very day.”

Inspired by the sounds of the burgeoning Americana movement -- bands like Whiskeytown and Wilco, and later the so-called “Outlaw” country clan -- indeniable icons like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine and Townes Van Zandt -- George later immersed himself in probing the roots of the rock and country crossover, exploring the Southern California singer/songwriter scene by way of Jackson Browne, the Eagles and J.D. Souther. He attended the University of Montevallo in Alabama, majoring in classical guitar and later studying special education for the deaf and hard of hearing. Forced to drop out after losing his funding, he turned his attention to writing songs. That’s when he met drummer Bucky Brown and the two decided to start a band. Relocating to Aiken, they found pedal steel player Center Ely, who George describes as shy and unassuming, but a wiz when it comes to fixing their gear. At first they played covers while honing their chops in the local bar scene, then began phasing in original material as well. “We went through bass players like Spinal Tap went through drummers,” George chuckles, referring to the continuing need to fill that anchor spot. “When we found Brooks, we knew we had the right guy. It was worth going through half a dozen candidates just to find the one that fit.”

The last to join was guitarist Scott Rankin, an acquaintance of Kenny’s who had asked him to fill in for a show when Rankin’s second guitarist had to bow out of the gig at the last minute. “Little did I know, we would play a four hour show,” George recalls. “But it did give us a chance to perform together and that inspired us to play together even more after that. We decided we sounded pretty good, and eventually I was able to coax him into joining our band.”

In the interim, George took a brief hiatus in New York City to work with producer Damien Dash, but the cold New York winter, lack of opportunity and the steep cost of living prompted him to return home less than five months later. It proved to be a good decision, and with three releases under their belt -- the Gunshy EP (their 2014 debut), Zac Brown Sessions (a prize bestowed as the result of winning a songwriting contest in 2013), and Live From Sky City (recorded in concert in Augusta, Georgia) -- and their latest, Borrowed Trouble, set to release in late April, the Kenny George Band is poised to garner new admirers and consolidate an already ample following all at the same time.

“It takes time to really make a mark,” George reckons. “It’s a slow process and there’s a lot of work involved. However, as long as we can share our experiences and build relationships with our audiences, I feel we’re making progress all along the way.”
Venue Information:
The Evening Muse
3227 N. Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC