Reviews of No Room at the Inn
MOST great rock ‘n’ roll is made out on the fringes but this latest album from Australian veteran Stewart ‘Leadfinger’ Cunningham packs such a punch that it deserves to come out from the underground. Fans of bands from The Masters’ Apprentices to HITS will love its greasy swagger, sure-footed songwriting and a sound that’s both rich and raw. This is a deep seam, back to the classic Stones records of the late ’60s on songs like You’re So Strange, with its gospel-charged backing vocal from Chloe West. Gimme The Future sports searing guitar work that threatens to shred speakers, and Cruel City pumps with the kind of intensity once found on Radio Birdman records. But there is also room for banjo on the dusty roads of the title tune, and the intense The Lonely Road is dedicated to Rory Gallagher. Anyone who ever heard the sparks flying on a record by the late Irish bluesman will recognise a soul brother in Leadfinger and his passionate tunes.
– (4 Stars) Noel Mengel, Courier Mail, 20 April 2013
“If you take a journey through the past 20 years of Australian underground rock’n’roll, chances are you’ll pass Stewart Cunningham in your travels. Now performing under his ”Leadfinger” nickname, Cunningham’s cult pedigree includes a stint with the Proton Energy Pills and Asteroid B-612. On No Room at the Inn, Cunningham confirms his status as one of Australia’s most underrated songwriters. On the opening track, You’re So Strange, Leadfinger imbues the front-bar southern comfort of Lynyrd Skynyrd with a Wollongong surf-rock sensibility. On Cruel City, he falls naturally into the role of swaggering guitar-rock icon, while Pretty Thing is a post-punk pop classic Nick Lowe would sell his songwriting soul to own. It’s time someone found room at the Australian rock’n’roll inn for Cunningham.”
– (4 Stars) Patrick Emery, The Age, 22 March 2013
“The odds were stacked against Leadfinger delivering two killer albums in a row but only a fool would have laid down their readies against him. Here’s 11 songs of blues-rock swagger with classic influences, all processed through Stew Cunningham’s personal musical blender.
Those influences are fairly evident here so let’s kick a few around. “You’re So Strange” and “Gimme the Future” show “Let It Bleed”and “Exile”-era Stones touches, especially in Chloe West’s wonderful backing vocals. There’s a call-out to the late Rory Gallagher in the credits and you could read his guitar playing into any number of the songs. (If you don’t know Rory or his pre-solo band Taste, go to Google and make a beeline for a solo album called “Jinx”. That is all.)”
– (5 Stars) The Barman, i94Bar.com
, February 2013
February 2013 saw the release of the 4th Leadfinger album No Room at the Inn on Citadel Records. Recorded and produced by the band at Sydney’s Defwolf Studios and Leadfinger’s own Rendezvous Studio, No Room at the Inn revisits classic seventies rock (think Tom Petty, Big Star, Flamin Groovies) without forgetting the band’s seminal roots (MC5, Radio Birdman, The Saints). Eschewing modern-day gadgetry and production tricks, the band relied on vintage recording gear and great songs to create an album that could easily be mistaken for a lost seventies masterpiece.
No Room at the Inn is Leadfinger’s most complex and strongest album to date with opening track YOU’RE SO STRANGE taking listeners on a soul trip to Muscle Shoals via Detroit! CRUEL CITY has the venom lyrics and twisting riffs that give this bitter hometown ode an incendiary pitch whilst PRETTY THING is like hearing a long lost Replacements track, a song that should probably be all over radio like a rash.
The album is available on Vinyl LP, CD and via download from Bandcamp, iTunes and the bands website. The LP comes with a free download card that has an unlimited expiry date.