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How John Prine Compelled this Singer to Conjure the Soul of America
David Luning's 'Restless' (Blue Rose Music) out February 3, 2017
Throughout generations, troubadours and singers have harnessed the cultural landscape and passed it along, with the likes of John Prine, Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt paving the way with the telling of their stories. Following in those footsteps, 29-year-old Sonoma County singer/songwriter David Luning’s new record is the product of a massive turn in his life and taps into that cultural archive. Listening to ‘Souvenirs’ by John Prine, was a cornerstone moment, compelling Luning to leave Berklee College and follow in the tradition of these iconic troubadours. Blue Rose Music will release Luning's new 12-song record 'Restless' on February 3, 2017.
As he left the east coast to return to his native Forestville, CA, Luning's travels across America playing shows and meeting people on the road set him on his way to record the soulful, endearing songs on ‘Restless’ with the help of engineer/producer Karl Derfler (Tom Waits, Dave Matthews). All the while, Prine's upbeat-yet-downhearted takes on modern life would change Luning's musical DNA from a melancholy composer to that of a lyrical storyteller.
Luning’s collection of songs explores ideas of love, acceptance, and real life with a heartfelt universality. Much of the album is up-tempo and exuberant and is both an evolution sonically and emotionally—"Almost Sounds Like Laughing" is a foot-stomping folk tune with the energy of a runaway train—but Luning shows off his remarkable depth and range on some of the record's more restrained tracks, like the slow-burning "Brother In Chains" and delicate "Gonna Forget About You," which finds him pulling his vocals back to an intimate near-whisper that conveys a world of heartache and regret. "In Hell I Am" started life as an acoustic blues on a resonator guitar before morphing into a fiery, electric rocker, while "Bet It All On Black" takes on a harder, Southern edge, with Luning repeating the mantra, "Ain't no use in holding back."
"It's essentially about a person who's kind of carefree," Luning says, "and they know that something might not be the best thing to do, but they're going all in with it anyway. They're just going for it, regardless of the outcome and any repercussions they might face."
Check out “Gonna Forget About You” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk048eu0cRU
David Luning started his career playing the Northern California open mic circuit before touring the west coast with Dave and Phil Alvin, Elvin Bishop, and Jackie Greene with festival appearances as well. Luning performs with his longtime live bandmates Ben Dubin (bass & harmonica), Linden Reed (drums), and Dave Sampson (guitar & mandolin). His music has been featured in film and television, most recently on NBC’s ‘Grimm’.