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From the Heart

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Album Review

New England's Albert Cummings is a fine blues-rock guitarist somewhat in the Stevie Ray Vaughan mold, displaying at times the same sort of tone, explosion and soul that made Vaughan so special. Although he had played the northeast blues circuit with his band Swamp Yankee, Cummings really didn't catch the attention of the blues world until he teamed with Vaughan's old backing band, Double Trouble, and recorded this album in Austin, Texas. Yes, he sometimes has Vaughan's tone and feel, but there the similarities tend to end, in spite of having Reese Wynans, Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon in his corner. Cummings, who makes his living as a carpenter, takes more of an everyman, working stiff approach to his material, and his songs tell the stories of men struggling to make ends meet, both economically and domestically. There is little of the mystical guitar seeker in his repertoire, and although he plays wonderfully, it always seems grounded in a kind of blue-collar utility. Which is fine. There was only one Stevie Ray. The opener here, "Your Own Way," pretty much sets the tone for a solid blues-rock outing, with lyrics that celebrate survival and persistence, and while "Tell It Like It Is" strays just a bit into country territory, nothing here breaks or messes with the mold. The Vaughan comparisons are going to follow Cummings as he moves through his career, and recording an album with Vaughan's backing band may or may not have been a good idea in that regard, but aside from that study Fender tone they share, Vaughan and Cummings are really quite different musicians. This is a guitarist to watch.

Biography

Born: Williamstown, MA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '00s

Albert Cummings was born in Williamston, MA, and has made his home in the New England region all his life, where he runs a successful home construction business. He started playing the five-string banjo when he was 12 and appeared headed for a regional career in bluegrass when he encountered the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan in his late teens, and soon made the transition to electric guitar. His first public performance on guitar came at a wedding reception when he was 27 years old, but soon he was...
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From the Heart, Albert Cummings
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