Cayamo Breakout Artist Madison Cunningham
The Cayamo music cruise, which sailed aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pearl Feb. 3-10, is known for presenting a stellar line-up. This year, on the occasion of the event's 13th anniversary, the stars came out in force, with Brian Wilson, Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy, Rodney Crowell and Raul Malo of the Mavericks among the big names gracing Cayamo stages. But the festival always has its ears tuned to the future too, and this year one of the stars in-the-making that shone the brightest was Madison Cunningham.
Cunningham is a 22-year-old from Los Angeles who writes her own songs and sings them while accompanying herself on guitar. Unlike many singer/songwriters who play guitar, Cunningham uses a variety of electric guitars in her set as opposed to an acoustic. With sweet vocals, intelligent lyrics and guitar parts that aren't afraid to rock, get jazzy or bluesy, Cunningham often recalls one of L.A.'s greatest talents of the 1970s, Joni Mitchell.
For her first of numerous Cayamo performances, Cunningham spotlighted songs from her Who Are You Now album. Playing backed only by a drummer and bass player, Cunningham showed her versatility with the pop rocker "Beauty," the slow and dreamy "Dry as Sand," an introspective new song called "Higher Ground" and the especially Mitchell-recalling "Pin it Down." Performing with her eyes closed on every song, Cunningham also played a few songs without her rhythm section, including "No One Else to Blame" and the tender "Like You Do." "Song in My Head," "Plain Letters" and "L.A.," a breezy cut about her home town, rounded out the set. Another tune without the band served as the set closer; "All at Once" also offered some of Cunningham's gutsiest guitar playing of the show.
Cunningham's performance was a perfect example of one of the greatest joys that Cayamo offers; the chance to really get to know new talent in an intimate setting and to see that performer multiple times if you choose. Cunningham will clearly debark the Cayamo cruise with lots of new fans.
For more information on the Cayamo cruise go here.
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