Al Dunkleman’s newest CD, his third, traces much of the cultural and historical landscape of Cleveland County, NC (located between Charlotte and Asheville). The 16 tracks include 11 original works, as well as covers of songs by county natives and Country Music Hall of Fame inductees Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson. The musical journey will take you through Revolutionary times, introduce you to several of the county’s favorite locales and provide a glimpse into some of the tragedies that stay with communities long after they occur. The songs are delivered in a tight and engaging format, with lyrics that are heartfelt.
Dunkleman and his band, Natural Blend, includes his wife Karen Dunkleman on upright bass, Randy Saxon on banjo, mandolin and electric guitar, and David Rhyne on percussion. Also featured on the project is guest artist Darin Aldridge. Dunkleman describes the group’s musical style as “full-bodied organic Americana infused with hints of folk, bluegrass and old-school country.”
Dunkleman, who grew up in Ellicottville in a family with 10 kids, was always appreciative of music, but was really smitten with “old-time” music in his teens and later, during a visit to the Boone area of NC, decided he would move there. At age 21, he pursued a series of odd jobs and continued both his formal and musical education. For the past 14 years, he has taught sociology at Cleveland Community College in Shelby, NC, while enjoying playing music with his friends.
His two previous CDs were “Take the Road Less Traveled,” in 2007 and “When We Were Young,” in 2011.
“Welcome to Cleveland County” is available for purchase at iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon and other outlets. Visit www.aldunkleman.com.