Breaking every cliche associated with the blues while producing some of the most powerful music of the 21st century comes naturally to Albert Cummings.
The Massachusetts native learned the requisite three chords on the guitar from his father, but then switched to playing banjo at age 12 and became a fan of bluegrass music. In his late teens he encountered the early recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan and was floored by the virtuosity. While in college in 1987 he saw Vaughan perform and he returned to the guitar with a new outlook and resolve.
The whiz-kid carpenter began his ascent to masterful blues rock guitarist at age 27, with his first public performance on guitar. Soon he was on the Northeast blues circuit with his band, Swamp Yankee. In 1998 he walked into a Northeast Blues Society open jam, which led to Cummings’ winning the right to compete in the Blues Foundation’s 1999 International Blues Challenge. The following year Albert released his debut recording, The Long Way. Bluesprint magazine said it was “a barrage of guitar pyrotechnics that calls to mind a grand mix of the styles of past masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Hendrix.”
That in turn opened up an opportunity for him to work with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section. So taken with Albert’s fire and passion were bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that they volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart. Recorded in Austin, Texas, it featured Cummings fronting Double Trouble (including Reese Winans) in their first recording project since Stevie Ray’s passing. No less a giant of the blues than B.B. King dubbed Cummings “a great guitarist.”
Cummings’ soulful and explosive approach to blues and rock caught the attention of Blind Pig Records, which signed him to a multi-album deal. On his label debut, True to Yourself, released in 2004, Cummings was again joined by bassist Tommy Shannon. Recorded by producer extraordinaire Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray, Buddy Guy), the album rocks hard from start to finish. The all-original release showcased Albert’s rapidly developing songwriting chops and deeply emotional vocals as well as stunning guitar pyrotechnics, leading Guitar One to exclaim, “He attacks his axe with unbridled ferocity and deep soulfulness… his depth and expression are matched only by his terrifying technique and tone.”
Soon tours and shows with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and others brought Albert’s music to a much larger audience.
Albert Cummings is a man of his times and the man for the times. He has built his own musical edifice that expresses his thoughts and dreams. It is a vision that alternately excites and soothes while also clearly providing a glimpse of his unlimited future. The best is yet to come.