Guitarist George Cunningham releases his first solo album, Stumblingham, this week. Cunningham — who plays with locals like The Graveblankets, Pike 27 and The Faux Frenchmen — will do some promo work on Saturday to push the disc. At noon, Cunningham and his band, The Flammables (John Schmidt, Jesse Feister and his partner-in-crime on Stumblingham, Chris Arduser) will play live on WNKU (89.7 FM; wnku.org). At 3 p.m., the group heads over to Everybody's Records in Pleasant Ridge for an in-store performance.
Cunningham doesn't stumble at all on Stumblingham, a mostly all-instrumental adventure that showcases his versatile guitar work and arrangement abilities. It's a quite finessed album, actually; Cunningham and the album's producer/co-writer Chris Arduser have done an amazing job creating an actual "album" that flows wonderously. The twosome's sense of humor (read Cunningham's column, "A Guitar Case," at graveblankets.com for hysterical examples) is evident in the playfulness of the album, with clever samples and a general jauntiness on some of the tracks. Despite being essentially a "guitar album," this is no wank-fest; the track programming and diversity of the material keeps your interest from start to finish. How many modern instrumental albums can you really say that about? Not limited to one particular style, Cunningham touches on forms of Surf ("Missiletoe"), Celtic ("Debussy Fields"), eccentric Pop ("The Upturned Face," featuring vocals from Arduser), Jazz ("The Last Biscuit") and Latin (the vinyl-static-muffled "The Mourning Tango"), and instead of trying to totally ape the greats of a genre, he gives each his own spin.
There's also a large chunk of finger-style guitar showcases, which show Cunningham can more than hold his own with other innovative masters of the neo-acoustic guitar music brigade. Don't let the tomfoolery fool you — Stumblingham is a top-shelf Roots music elixir.
500 Miles ... and Then Some
One of the more "buzzed about" young bands on the local music scene, 500 Miles to Memphis, host a tour kick-off party on Friday with a massive show at the Southgate House in Newport. Utilizing all three stages of the club, the show features MOTH, The Kentucky Struts, Cari Clara, Sozai, Pale Beneath the Blue, The Great Depression, The Waywards, Akillis Green, Wojo, Misery Loves Company and Roadblock. The band then heads south for two weeks with stops in Dallas and, of course, Memphis (among other dates). This show was originally scheduled to be the CD release party for 500 Miles' excellent self-titled debut release (on the local 3rd Silo Records), but a delay in pressing the final product has pushed that back for the time being. The band is hoping to have the CDs by the beginning of April. (500milestomemphis.com)
More Local Notes
· A concert honoring late city health commissioner, Dr. Malcolm Adcock, takes place Saturday at Corryville's Old Saint George. Adcock, father of acclaimed singer/songwriter Ryan Adcock, was an avid local music fan, so his son helped organize a tribute concert featuring some of his favorites. Along with Ryan Adcock, the 7:30 p.m. show features Kim Taylor, Jake Speed, Greg Mahan and Chris Collier. Proceeds will be donated to the Doctor Malcolm Adcock Memorial Fund, set up to raise money for a planned memorial at the doctor's beloved Stanberry Park. (adcockmemorial.com)
· The Northside Tavern gets a birthday party this Saturday. The popular Northside watering-hole/original music haven turns 3 years old, and local bands Lovely Crash, The Tigerlilies and Le TechnoPUSS13S will be the soundtrack to the party. The "no-cover" club has become one of the key venues in the area for local (and touring) Indie bands, while also showcasing Americana, Jazz and other styles of music. This show is also a milestone for local Pop/Rock heroes The Tigerlilies, who will debut their new guitarist, Mike Weinel, at the gig.
· Hobilly return to the local stage this Friday at The Comet in Northside. The "homegrown, urban Appalachian, southern-fried Country Punk Rockabilly" band is joined by The Killouts for the free show.
· An exhibition of Rock show posters by local artists Keith Neltner (who did the cover art for Superjoint Ritual's debut album and had artwork featured in The Art of Modern Rock poster art book from Chronicle Books) and Rob Warnick (bassist for And Andy) will be on display starting at 7 p.m. this Saturday at the York Street Café. The poster show is free; And Andy, Ellison, The Defrost Star and Lexington's Emily Hagihara play at 9 p.m. ($5 cover).