Albert Cummings No Regrets. This is a strong collection, highlighting Cummings’ considerable songwriting and guitar playing skills.

Artist: Albert Cummings
Label: Ivy Music Company
Length: 12 Tracks, 50 mins 

The drums crack, a gutsy guitar riff grabs you, and before you know it your head’s bobbing and your toes are tapping to the catchy grooves of “Glass House,” the first track on Albert Cummings’ latest CD No Regrets. Probably my favorite song on the disc, it’s an irresistible blues-rock entrée that will prep your music-loving palate for all that follows. 

This is a strong collection highlighting Cummings’ considerable songwriting and guitar playing skills. The songs have a very “real life” feel, touching on relationships (the good and the bad), losing and winning, the joys of driving, and finding a way to be okay with the uncertain emotional potpourri that is ordinary life. Its overall feel is positive, celebratory, even triumphant. Aptly titled.  

All the soloing is good here. Some particularly nice moments on “500 Miles,” “Your Day Will Come,” and “Foolin’ Me.” What can I say? I’m a sucker for a bit of well-executed wah wah. All the tracks on this CD pop with Cummings’s emotive style not just in terms of what he’s producing slamming and bending his Strat’s six strings, but also in terms of where he pushes his simple yet soulful voice. 

Cummings makes no secret of the profound influence blues icon Stevie Ray Vaughan has had and continues to have on him. He said (in an interview with Blues Revue magazine editor Art Tipaldi) that Vaughan, “Opened the door to the blues for me.” Behind that door he, of course, went on to discover the guitarists that influenced Stevie—guys like Hendrix and B. B. King, Albert Collins and a host of blues greats.  

That Stevie Ray tonality and combustion is not hard to hear in Cummings’ playing, but make no mistake—he’s not a Vaughan clone. Stylistically, compositionally, lyrically, and vocally he is very much a distinct entity. The musical organism that arises from this talented guitarist may be rooted in the blues, but it doesn’t mind burrowing through some rock or breathing in a little country air to find its full expression. 

Cummings said, “This album is really who I am, as an artist and a man.” 

All in all, it’s a solid, definitive release. I surmise, as far as maturing and improving, Albert Cummings is just getting started. 

No Regrets is due to be released on August 28, 2012.

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