American blues musician Albert Cummings’ reputation goes before him. He started playing the five-string banjo at the age of 12, and got into bluegrass. He then discovered the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan, started a band, and has since played alongside the likes of B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy. What an incredible résumé! Albert Cummings has just released his latest album, ‘TEN’, along with new single, ‘Need Somebody’, and with that in mind, we dropped him a few questions. You can read his answers below.
Hi Albert, thank you so much for speaking to us!
We’re loving your song, ‘Need Somebody’. You sing that we all need somebody to love, but do you feel that there is somebody for everyone out there?
I sure do hope there is somebody for everyone! My song is coming from the point of wanting to find that person. I think that having someone to love is just as important as having some to love you. Maybe I should write a follow up update on when that person finds somebody! (Wait I already did that with a song called Finally in Love J).
You’re certainly an accomplished musician and singer, how did you get into music in the first place? If you were given the opportunity to start all over again, would you follow the same career trajectory, or would you do anything differently? And if so, what would that be?
My musical journey has been quite different from most. I didn’t know I had any interest in music until I was 27 years old. I was at a friend’s wedding reception and my friends encouraged me to get up and play with the band. Reluctantly I did and my life changed at that very moment while a new force came over me. I was a builder my whole life and music was a hobby. Well my hobby took off and I followed what felt the best to me. I’ve been asked if I wish I started sooner and the answer for me is simple. My music is all about my life, my feelings and my experiences. I didn’t have the proper amount of any of them when I was younger so for me my path was made for me and I followed it. The only thing I wish is that I didn’t miss all of those years of playing music when I was younger.
Who have been your biggest influences in your music? What about in your life in general? In what ways do you wish to be an influence yourself?
My first and biggest influence was Stevie Ray Vaughan. Of course I think he is the greatest guitar player that has ever lived but I see something more. I see a man who was not “not going to make it”. He had conviction that matched his passion for his music. That’s where I live! Because Stevie was so influential on me, I wanted to find out who his influences were. That’s where I learned about BB King. BB also had that conviction. He came from driving a tractor to becoming the world’s greatest influence on the electric guitar. Not one guitarist alive can deny that they have been influenced by BB King whether they know it or not. Somewhere in their guitar player family tree you will find BB King in everyone’s tree. Even after all he endured and came thru he remained the most humble beautiful human being I have ever met in my life. My main goal is to carry on the dignity that BB King was so gracious with.
We seem finally to be reaching the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s affected us all badly all over the world, but for musicians, the impact has been felt quite keenly, with the closure of venues meaning a large income stream has been unavailable. How have you fared during this time, and how has it affected your music?
I can’t think of a more damaging thing to happen to the music world than the pandemic. I think the bar has now been raised. What I mean is that entertainers have to offer something that isn’t ordinary now that we’ve gone thru that. People have become accustomed to staying home and its harder to get them to come out. You have to give even more than you did before the pandemic when it comes to your performance. On the other hand it gave everyone the opportunity to stop taking things for granted especially when it comes to music. When people could no longer have live music they began to miss it more and more. Music is a healer and I hope more people will go out and enjoy the human connection of sharing an experience listening to live music.
You’ve got a mean shred on ‘Need Somebody’. Do you have a favourite brand and type of guitar, and if so, how did you settle on that?
Yes I sure do. I play a Fender Stratocaster. That’s the only guitar I have ever played. It not as easy to play as some of the other major brand name guitars but its sound makes up for that. It’s also a tough guitar. I’ve dropped it, watched it get blown over etc. It is built very strong. I put Dunlop strings on it and I plug it into a Fender amplifier with Eminence speakers. I feel as though I play much better when I hear a sound that is pleasing. All of these companies help me sound better!
What’s next for Albert Cummings? Where can fans expect from you and when and where can they see you perform?
My next major goal is to tour this record. I am so proud of these songs and I can’t wait to bring them to the world. Our schedule is blowing up again and I am so excited tour. If anyone would like to come to a show they can find out where I’ll be at www.albertcummings.com.
Finally, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?
You got me….