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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

"Working Man" Albert Cummings Live At The Lake Aug.2

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, July 24, 2006

Blues musician Albert Cummings is slated to appear at an Aug. 2 "Live At The Lake" free concert. Cumming's third album, "Working Man" was released on July 18 to a rave Billboard review.[photo used with permission of Albert Cummings]
The timing probably couldn't be better for Berkshire region fans of Albert Cummings.

Just two weeks after the release of his newest CD, titled "Working Man," Cummings and bass player Dan Broad and drummer Aaron Scarpine are set to perform free from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 2 as part of a 2006 "Live At The Lake" concert series. The event is held at Burbank Park on Onota Lake in Pittsfield.

Third Album Release Earns Raves

"Working Man" follows the release of "True to Yourself," which sold about 11,000 copies nationwide.

The numbers hardly shatter any sales records, but for a blues album, the sales were enough to churn a lot of industry attention, Cummings said during a July 24 interview.

"For the blues world, those sales are pretty good," he said. "People say that [True To Yourself] was my calling card. A lot of seeds got planted with that album."

"Working Man" demonstrates a strong, dynamic, multi-talented Cummings;"[Cummings] understanding of bluegrass and country music shines through on the album's sentimental closing note 'Last Dance,' and Cummings voice is at its finest on 'Feeling End,' a song that's blues rock with country tones," according to a Billboard review.

"'Working Man' is an incredibly upbeat and well-mixed album," the review continues.

So is this the breakthrough album that will move Williamstown native Cummings - who has performed with greats such as B.B. King, the late Stevie Ray Vaughn's band Double Trouble [Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Winans all appear on Cummings first album, "From The Heart"] Buddy Guy, Sheryl Crow and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, to name a few - into the mainstream music arena?

Only time will tell, said Cummings.

Dual Careers Hitting High Notes

A fourth generation master builder whose company builds homes that approach seven-figure costs and whose work has been featured in national magazines, Cummings is blazing a trail to the top of that industry as well.

Cumming's skills as a builder, his vocal abilities and his talents as a musician prompted CNNMoney.com to feature Cummings in a February article titled "Tycoon [and blues guitarist] in the making: Master builder Albert Cummings sings the blues, but not about his construction business."

An annual and extremely well-attended contractor and home-builder national convention allows Cummings to mix and mingle with fellow builders and also allows him to bring down the house with his stage show. Cummings has performed at the conventions for the past four years. He recently returned from performances at the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Festival, an event that hosts about 100,000 people in two days.

"We're having fun with these events," Cummings said. "We're getting headlines and people are digging what we're doing."

"Working Man" Leading Blind Pig [and how often do you hear that?]

"Working Man" is leading the Blind Pig recording label with music downloads, Cummings said, and he added music insiders seem excited about the positive Billboard review.

"It's kind of interesting," he said. "They talk about the country influence coming up in the album. My stuff is blues-based but there's rock in there, too. My whole style is blues-country-rock, it's a crossover mix. All my upbringing was country. It was Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard."

Cummings' cover of Haggard's classic "Workin' Man Blues" led to the album title.

"I wanted to do something by Merle and [Workin' Man Blues] hit me; it was like being with the [building business] work crew and all that," he said.

"The Most Fun Of All"

Cummings began playing banjo as a boy of about 12 years old; while in his mid-teens, he began playing the guitar. After hearing tapes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Cummings found a musical hero and after watching Vaughn live at a Boston concert, he knew he wanted to find his own six-string excellence. Now 38 years old, Cummings has spent the past 20 years building houses and a music career.

He emphasized that he has no plans to abandon his building business, and he stressed that he is committed to his wife of almost 17 years Christina and his two sons. While it is likely he could be touring and performing on a full-time basis, he is currently sticking with weekend festivals and similar, short-term gigs.

He's met and performed with many of the artists he's always admired, and recording with the Double Trouble band "was the highlight of my life," he said.

"All of it, the playing, making friends, trading guitar licks with these guys, it's the most fun of all," Cummings said.

"The Greatest Influence Of All Time"

And there is another guitar legend that Cummings is hoping to meet one of these days.

"The one I'm waiting for is Eric Clapton," he said. "He's the greatest [guitar] influence of all time. If I was talking to Eric Clapton, yeah, I think I'd be a little nervous."

Additional information about Albert Cummings, including upcoming tour dates, are available at a www.albertcummings.com Internet web site.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.


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