When he’s not on the road, he’s probably whacking nails and ripping wood on some construction job. Those splintery fingers are the same ones that tease the awesome blues out of his guitar. But why try to describe his music in words when you can watch this video. Recorded at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and containing shots of his life in the Berkshire HIlls, you can see and feel his authenticity. Plus this mini-film by Dave Simonds is a little gem, it got to me, maybe it will get to you, too.
Here’s how Mass MoCA describes him: He breaks every cliché associated with the blues while producing some of the most powerful music of the 21st century. And it all comes as natural to Albert Cummings as swinging a hammer while constructing one of his award-winning custom-built homes.
The Williamstown, Massachusetts, native learned the requisite three chords on the guitar from his father, but then switched to playing banjo at age 12 and became a fan of bluegrass music. Putting professional music on hold while he attended college and got started in his family’s building business, it was not until he was 27, an age when other musicians were either already established or had long ago put their dream aside for the realities of life, that Cummings really embraced a career as a musician.Early on he shared a bill with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section, who were so taken with him that they volunteered to play on and produce his debut recording 2003′s From the Heart. A year later Double Trouble joined Cummings again as he signed with Blind Pig Records to create True to Yourself. Tours and shows with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and others brought his music to a wider audience. His most recent album Working Man includes a punchy, stomping cover of Merle Haggard’s blue-collar standard ‘Working Man Blues’ as well as original compositions that show variety well beyond the typical slow blues and shuffles of so much contemporary music.
Tickets for Albert Cummings in concert are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Members are eligible for a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11AM to 5PM every day but Tuesday. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org at any time.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA is an independent 501c(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.