Black Music Matters Festival

Brad Cunningham Band

Every Inch of Texas – 2016 (CEN)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Brad Cunningham Band

The Kansas City-based Brad Cunningham Band's debut "Every Inch of Texas" is hit and miss. Though Cunningham has a pleasant voice and the songs are solid, much of the disc is hampered by producer Wes Sharon's (Turnpike Troubadours, John Fullbright) overproduction.

The opening "Long Way Home" starts off well as an acoustic song with nice harmonies from band mate Rachel Turner before thumping drums kick in, and the tune transitions to a muddled mix. Similarly the title track and the rocker "Whole Lotta Love to Find" are enjoyable tunes that suffer from mainstream production.

Amongst the stronger tracks are the closing ballad "Good Timin' Man," though even here Cunningham's vocal gets buried a bit in the mix, and the Tex-Mex flavored "Slow Down." The rocking "Another Train Song" and "Goin' To Texas" showcase band mates Kyle Pudenz (fiddle) and T.J. Klein (lead guitar), while "Ozark Mountain Blues" features Cunningham's most passionate vocals.

While frontman Cunningham, who wrote or co-wrote all 10 songs, is from Missouri, the Texas influence is strong due to his college days in Waco. In addition to Pudenz and Klein the instrumentation is solid throughout with fellow band mates Kyle Day (bass) and Drake Detwiler (drums) along with guests Sharon (bass) and Ryan Engleman (pedal steel) despite the overproduction. Though "Every Inch of Texas" ultimately disappoints, Brad Cunningham reveals himself to be a promising young singer/songwriter.