David Luning and Jay Leno Live At The Uptown Theatre, Napa
Sonoma Countys' David Luning and his bass player, Ben Dubin opened the show, for headlining talk show host / comedian Jay Leno at the Uptown Theatre Napa. The David Luning band, normally a four piece Americana, roots rock band has been climbing the charts and is now officially in the Americana charts. Well deserved and talented, Luning, a 30 year old from Forestville, California has been getting attention for years, but got a lot of attention three years ago, at his American Idol appearance in 2014. He performed an original song and I believe that the judges just didn't know what to do with him. He was so different, not a cookie cutter idol contestant by far. The, then 27 year old, walked onstage, wearing his signature fedora hat, chatted with the judges and sang an original tune. Keith Urban said he would buy a record by Luning, but although Luning got a 'golden ticket' he did not get through to the finals. However, it was great exposure, and today, three years later he has been signed by the music label, Blue Rose and working with producer Karl Derfler just released his second album. His new album is polished and showcases his big voice, not the voice one expects from this young man, big and bass-ee.
On this night, opening for Leno, he and his bass played Ben Dubin played only four songs. Two shows on that night, one at 7 and another at 10pm. The early show had an audience a with mostly people 60+. They seemed to love the Luning music and bought a lot of CDs in the intermission. A handful of the audience even gave him a standing ovation. The 10 pm show had the younger set, 25+. They were more active during the set, singing along. There were plenty of supportive family members, friends and Dave Sampson, Davids guitarist even came to support his band mate, even though he was not playing that night.
Luning is a charming, personable young man. Continuously interacting with the audience, grateful to be there doing what he does best, sharing his music with others. There is no doubt Luning and his bandmates are talented and keep it humble. The highlight for me, of their short set was the dueling harmonicas between Ben and David. Passionate and fiery, it was definitely a memorable part of their set. I've seen them as a two piece many times, like this evening, and as a four piece band numerous times throughout the past several years. Both ways always a great performance. If you get a chance to see the David Luning band you won't be disappointed.