Artist: Albert Cummings
Album: Someone Like You
Label: Blind Pig Records
Release Date: 07/24/2015
Albert Cummings has a Cinderella story to rival that of the peasant-made-princess herself. His was the Platonic story of success in the music business; cynicism combined with realism says you can’t get by on talent alone, but Albert Cummings did just that. He went from obscurity in New England to unyielding respect in the blues rock community, and by the time his second record came around, he was recording alongside Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon, the backing band for none other than Stevie Ray Vaughan, Cummings’ idol.
Someone Like You, his 7th, dishes out more heavy blues rock like a short order cook, sometimes flavoring it with pop spices. He wields his guitar on “Up Your Sleeve” and opener “No Doubt” with mud-splattered jeans and an off-roading pickup truck. He turns on the romance for “So Strong,” then shows his staying power on “Little Bird.” Albert Cummings wears a couple different hats, but none that Stevie hadn’t already worn – and this is comforting, not merely rote.
There have been many worshippers at the altar of SRV (Kenny Wayne Shephard, Johnny Lang, John Mayer, etc.), and they all seem to ape his jittery, ultra-caffeinated blues guitar style while never quite duplicating it. Cummings does almost nothing to distinguish himself from the hoi polloi of heavy blues guitar slingers, but he doesn’t need to, really. The strength of his blues, the crazy, dirty quality of his guitar and the joyful grit of his vocals are enough to satisfy any blues aficionado. If you’ve been sad for the past 15 years about the mighty SRV going to that blues club in the sky before his time, don’t lose heart; Albert Cummings seems to be making it his one job to fill his shoes, and fill them he does.
– N. Neal Paradise