Amazing Grace Tonight

from by The Burning Angels

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It took me a year to be able to record this song.

"Amazing Grace Tonight" is dedicated and written for Craig Leiske and was written days after he had passed. Craig was the tour manager, merch manager, guitar tech and I assume all-around-take-care-of-everything-and-everyone for The Drive By Truckers. He was also an Athens, GA icon and a terrifying figure at the 40 Watt Club if you didn't know that behind that crazed, half-mad professor look there was a heart of gold.

Craig gave me my first shot at the 40 Watt Club in Athens and for that I'm eternally grateful. When I had approached him and asked him for a chance and saw him peer down through those reading glasses he wore, I could have died. The thing about it is that I had known Craig since we were in high school.

At Christmas time, a month before he died, I had spoken to him for the last time and it was a conversation that changed my life forever. Craig had always RSVP'd to my shows on Facebook even though I knew damn well he couldn't make it with his tour schedule with DBT.
I walked into Flicker Theater for a show and there was Craig and his girlfriend Melinda. He smiled that crooked grin and said, "Surprise!"
I had admitted that I was becoming discouraged in the music business and felt no one was listening and all of the normal pity party crap all musicians subject themselves to.
He bought me shots before and after I had played and said, "Fuck what people say or what they think. You are you and you are damn good. Just go out there and play. Just play."

This song is for you my friend.


from American Stranger, released May 10, 2014
Words & Music by Mark Cunningham
Steady Roller Music ASCAP
Vocals, guitar, pedal steel, percussion- Mark Cunningham
Recorded and engineered by Mark Cunningham



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The Burning Angels Athens, Georgia

The Burning Angels of Athens, Georgia are a group of eclectic musicians who have come together to form a hard-driving roots influcenced sound.

Front man, Mark Cunningham was raised on the "Athens sound" from the burgeoning acts of the late 70's and 80's. R.E.M, Pylon and The Chickasaw Mudd Puppies combined with the classic country sounds of the "outlaws" and Texas songwriters.
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