Watching Marty McFly (aka Michael J Fox) shredding out on Johnny B Goode as he duckwalked across the tv screen proved to be the most defining of moments for thirteen year old Josh Cunningham. Having previously dabbled in ukulele as a young boy, you might say his musical career had in some sense gotten started, but this Back to the Future revelation changed everything. Instantly captivated, he knew there was no going back. His future was sealed.
Dusting off an old family guitar, he taught himself everything he knew and within no time was gigging in local cover bands – playing in pubs years prior to gaining the legal right to even enter such establishments.
After high school, music took him to the other side of the country where his path crossed with two sisters from Albany, Western Australia and together they formed The Waifs in 1992.
The ensuing years have seen the band weave their thread tightly into the fabric of Australian music. 10 albums, multi platinum sales, extensive touring of Australia and the world, ARIA awards, induction into the Australian songwriters association hall of fame, countless festival appearances the world over, touring with acts as diverse as Bob Dylan, Keith Urban, Kasey Chambers, John Butler Trio, Paul Kelly, Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg, and Weddings Parties Anything, are but a few of their accomplishments over a career approaching thirty years. Along the way Josh has also ventured beyond The Waifs, writing songs for Sara Storer and co producing her 2007 album Silver Skies, as well as playing guitar with Missy Higgins during the first three years of her career.
As grateful as he is for the many years of accomplishments, Josh has always felt that the most gratifying measure of success has simply been the ability to make a life out of playing music and the opportunity to contribute something meaningful and important into the world.
“Hearing the incredible stories of how the music I’ve been a part of has helped people through life’s trauma and helped others celebrate life’s beauty makes me proud and humbled to be involved with something as important as writing, recording and performing songs.”
As 2021 begins, Josh has found himself writing and recording with country music superstar, Felicity Urquhart. The two will begin performing together later this year.
“I can’t think of a time when I’ve felt such a need for the healing force of music. The world seems to be groaning under the burden of upheaval on many fronts and while music doesn’t make hard realities disappear, it certainly softens them and provides an opportunity for folks to celebrate. In the face of all that’s wrong in the world, music will always be right.”