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CD REVIEW -- Albert Cummings
GLT blues radio

ALBERT CUMMINGS

Someone Like You

Blind Pig Records

12 Tracks

Albert Cummings CD art

By Rick Davis

It's been said that blues sooths the soul but in Albert's case, he can sooth, stimulate, and in some cases electrify his audiences with his show stopping performances and gripping studio work. From his album True To Yourself, Cummings himself tells us "Well it's hard to feel bad when the blues makes me feel so good." Those vibes seem to be transferred to his fans, whether it comes from his powerful live performances or from one of his seven studio albums. Cummings joins the ranks of some of the most powerful contemporary blues-rock guitar players on the scene today. His red-hot, emotional vocals seem to be a real match for his highly charged guitar style. Guitar One explains it best with the quote: "He attacks his axe with unbridled ferocity and deep soulfulness... his depth and expression are matched only by his terrifying technique and tone."

Cummings’ experience since 1998 has proved to be valuable, working with veterans like Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, who along with the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan, initially sparked Albert's interest in blues music, leading to the rewarding career that he now enjoys. The remaining members of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were in turn impressed with Albert's debut album The Long Way (Albert Cummings and Swamp Yankee) in 1999, which lead to them producing and playing on the 2003 release From the Heart. This was the first recording session for Shannon, Layton, and Wynans after the passing of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Cummings was joined once again by Tommy Shannon on his first Blind Pig release True to Yourself  in 2004, this time produced by Jim Gaines, one of the best in the blues business today.

Staying with Blind Pig Records for his next three releases, Albert has returned to the record label for his latest release Someone Like You. Keeping the music fresh and energetic, Grammy-winning producer David Z has assembled a brand new cast of stellar musicians including: Mike Finnegan on keys, Tony Braunagel on drums and Reggie McBride on bass, in addition to adding Jimmy Vivino, leader of The Basic Cable Band on the Conan TV show, along with the sensational vocals of blues recording artist Teresa James. The album delivers original powerful, soul-driven ballads with blues played the way it was meant to be played. 

It opens with the hard drivin' tune "No Doubt," blending the vocals of Albert and Teresa with the heavy rhythm guitar and fiery guitar solos from Cummings. Jimmy Vivino joins Albert on guitar for intense, unrestrained blues on "I Found You." "Up Your Sleeve" and "Make Up Your Mind" serve up some hard rockin' Texas style roadhouse blues. On "Movin' On," the band combines Southern rock with funk for a tune that would even mesmerize Jerry Reed.

They slow the pace down considerably to add some soul to the recipe on the song "So Strong."  Teresa and Albert harmonize well on "Finally In Love," to complement Albert's solo vocals and highly charged guitar solos on this well written tune. The band takes a slow burning blues avenue on "Little Bird," as Cummings take center stage with both passionate vocals and lead guitar, with Vivino once again joining him on guitar. "Meatlocker" is quick, fast paced, jazz infused instrumental guaranteed to satisfy. Laid back describes the tempo of "I'm In Love With You," much like a Jimmy Reed classic with some sizzling guitar licks added by Cummings. "Old Dog" shakes, rocks, and smokes, demonstrating just how tightly this band really performs. With Mike Finnegan on keys and the rhythm section providing the explosive driving force behind "Stay Away From My Sister," Albert Cummings completes his new collection of original tunes with an absolute guitar clinic on this tune.

In reviewing a masterpiece like Someone Like You, I realize the level of talent heard from contemporary blues guitar slingers today. Albert Cummings keeps raising the bar with each and every new live concert and release of energetic blues guitar music. After listening to this CD, you will be convinced that blues music is still alive and well! Thank you Albert.

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