During the War of 1812, Commodore Oliver H. Perry was at the command of the U.S. Brig Niagara as US forces won an important naval victory at The Battle of Lake Erie. In his official report to General William Henry Harrison dated Sept. 10, 1813, he penned his now famous statement “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

I received in the mail today a very much anticipated CD, and to paraphrase the immortal words of Commodore Perry, “I have met the future of the blues, and it is Albert Cummings”. Cummings, a native of Massachusetts, is the consummate blues artist. He is a gifted songwriter (10 of the 11 tracks on the recording are originals), a passionate vocalist, and a ferocious guitarist who can gently pull on your heart strings with a sensitive ballad, but then ignite in explosive fury like an inbound meteor on a Texas blues/rock tune. Cummings is backed (and produced) on the recording by Tommy Shannon (bass) and Chris Layton (drums). Add Reese Wynans on the keyboards (does this band sound familiar to you yet?) and Johnny Moeller on rhythm guitar, and you have the makings for what is certain to be a milestone recording.

Yes, the band also once backed another very special and rather talented young artist named Vaughan. The comparisons between Stevie Ray and Albert Cummings will no doubt continue, partly because Cummings cites SRV as his inspiration for playing blues and Stevie’s band is playing on this recording. However, Cummings is a perfect example of an artist who has been influenced greatly by a legend, without becoming just another clone. He is much like Stevie, in that he plays with great intensity and with such power that he could drop a fully grown bull elephant to his knees. Most of all, his heart beats as did Stevie’s with the unmistakable rhythm of the blues, making “From The Heart” a most appropriate title for this project. Is he the second coming of Stevie Ray Vaughan? No, there was only one and will never be another. Stevie’s enormous legacy has already been recorded: Albert Cumming’s has just begun. But, my oh my, what a way to begin.

As was his earlier demo recording, “From The Heart” is strong from start to finish and rates excellent in every area that I consider for review. The material is mostly uptempo blues and Texas rock, but includes a moving ballad “Beautiful Bride” written for his wife. Cummings instrumentally translates smoothly from various styles and tempos and his vocals are well above average. But it is the hard driving blues/rock tracks like “Your Own Way” which will really get your attention. The guitar breaks on tracks like this are spectacular. I was pleased to see that Cummings re-recorded “The Long Way” from his demo CD, as it is also an excellent song. While I prefer certain tracks over others, the entire recording is splendid and you will find many of your own favorites within this exceptional recording.

“From The Heart” is available from the official Albert Cummings’ web site at www.albertcummings.com, from the fine folks at www.cdbaby.com, and other assorted online and retail outlets. Do your ears an enormous favor and buy a copy soon.

The Band:
Albert Cummings-Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Chris Layton-Drums
Tommy Shannon-Bass, Rhythm Guitar on “Your Own Way”
Reese Wynans-Keyboards
Johnny Moeller-Rhythm Guitar
Riley Osbourn-Keyboards on “Beautiful Bride”

Tracks:
1. Your Own Way
2. The Long Way
3. Regular Man
4. Tell It Like It Is
5. Together As One
6. Barrel House Blues
7. I’ve Got Feelings Too
8. Living On The Highway Now
9. Ready As I’ll Ever Be
10. Rock Me Baby
11. Beautiful Bride

2001 Albert Cummings

© Bluesrockers 2002

Reviewer

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