Who is this guy Tom Cunningham? We asked a couple of bar-goers in Berlin the other day. And one of them answered: "Tom Cunningham? He's a musician, I think. He put on some wild shows back in the 80s...and then he headed for Nashville, Tennessee…"
"Cunningham came back, though," said another. "By 2002 he started this show called Songwriters in the Round, in the old Rickenbacker's near the Bundesalle. He invited songwriters near and far to share original tunes… and played some of his Nashville stuff too, great material."
"But didn't you hear about his stroke?" asked a third. "It was in 2005. He was paralyzed from the neck down, couldn't play guitar. Poor fella."
"But it didn't get old Cunningham down," exclaimed a third. "He couldn't play guitar, but he worked hard on his voice… I hear that it's better than ever, in fact…"
A little fact mixed in with the fiction: Tom indeed lost the ability to play guitar, but he still gets most ably around the world, with the help of a cane. And more important is that he has retained his quick witted, good-humored parry. In fact, he just came back from Nashville last year with a fine new album tucked under his arm, Me Again. It's a great serving of rock, country, jazz, gospel, and folk, all done with a wit and wisdom.
‘The CD baby website wants to know, "how do you describe your music?"
Oh boy. How do I describe my music? Well, the answer is usually "Well… it's rock."
But we all know that that's not right. Because the first song, Getting In, is a sort of a Philly sound, with a definite Latino thing going on with the horns. And a guy sees a girl and sings his heart out.
The second song, Moonlight on my Mind, is also I suppose a standard country rock song, but there's more to it than that. A cool dobro player opens it, and it goes on to use to use these cool female singers (I could swear they were black) singing, "well, I got Moonlight on my mind…".
Then comes something else again …a dreamy Josh Groban-tinged examination of the universal spell of Liebe. Love Shines. But it's got enough soul in it that perhaps Bill Withers would've, might have, called it his own.
So that's just the first three songs. Country rock? I would prefer to call it Philly rock with a definite Latino thing backed with the country rock number with female-singers matched with a Josh Groban-like area of dreamed crucial Traumküsschen ballad-sophistry.’
Tom puts up his hands. Dear old, poor old Tom! A marketing agent with a record label would have the title of this kind of rock music down in a jiffy:
“A Springsteen voice in a Philly soul update!”
Getting In 4:420:00/4:42
Moonlight On My Mind 3:240:00/3:24
Love Shine 3:240:00/3:24
I'm On Fire 4:490:00/4:49
In the Wind 4:280:00/4:28
She Walks On Water 4:270:00/4:27
Winter's Day 4:500:00/4:50
Me Again 3:100:00/3:10
You Got Me High 4:120:00/4:12
Peace + Freedom 5:380:00/5:38