Review: Austin Cunningham - Made To Last

You may not know the name Austin Cunningham, but you've certainly heard his music. Cunningham has been the writer or co-writer of songs recorded by his buddy Chris Knight, Big and Rich, Hank Williams, Jr, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Martina McBride and dozens of others. With his fourth album, "Made To Last," Austin Cunningham has produced 13 top-notch songs that cannot be ignored.

As a singer-songwriter, Austin Cunningham is unique. He has an identifiable country voice that fully encapsulates the thoughts and feelings of everyday, working country men and women. The album's first cut, "This Town's On My Nerves" is illustrative of the frustration of many in these days of recession and job losses. Likewise, "Go Easy On Yourself" is a powerful anthem for people facing tough times. This song is a simple, but powerfully uplifting song that could be a country radio chart hit.

The album's title track clearly shows the full range of Austin Cunningham's vocal and writing talent. "Made To Last" is a country music masterpiece performed with passion and a high level of skill. After hearing this track, listeners will find it almost unthinkable that Cunningham is not yet a household name.

Austin Cunningham, a Garland, Texas native who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, also writes and performs traditional country tunes with ease and confidence. "Take Me Back To Fort Worth" is a rockin', high-energy barn-burner that will be a popular at live shows. Likewise, "The Last Great D.J." is a toe-tapping song with a killer melody and a potent story.

The real reason for Austin Cunningham's success on the album "Made To Last" is his passionate lyrics and delivery. "Recipe For Disaster" showcases Austin Cunningham as a troubadour with great success. But it is "Try Jesus" that is the greatest surprise of the album. This track mixes gospel with Texas country and traditional country in a new and fresh way. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to hear this song without compulsively clapping your hands. And that's a major compliment in the country music world.

"Made To Last" is a must for any fan of real country music. Although any country music songwriter would be envious of the list of artists who have recorded Cunningham's songs, "Made To Last" is definitive proof that Austin Cunningham is both a talented songwriter and a gifted country vocalist. As it turns out, the album's title, "Made To Last," is actually the perfect description for Austin Cunningham himself.