Albert Cummings is what we youngin’s like to call a legend in the music industry. The New England native is one of the most known and respected blues musicians out there, and who has played alongside other legendary players in the game including Buddy Guy and B.B. King just to name a few. Not a bad thing for a guy from a small town in Massachusetts.
Albert, who turned 50 this year, continues to be one of the genre defying musicians in the world of blues, which is an area of music very underappreciated in the music world today. On top of turning the big 5 oh, he is releasing yet another stellar live album on December 5th called Live at the ’62 Center, which took place in his home town of Williamstown, Mass.
He sat down with us at Manhattan Digest to discuss his upcoming album, his time with B.B. King and why a simple hot dog in the city is a perfect bite when he’s in The Big Apple.
What got you into the world of Blues Rock & Americana?
When I was a kid I was a huge country music fan. It was all I ever listened to. That is until i started to hear guys like Brian Setzer, Danny Gatton and this guy called Stevie Ray Vaughan. I was a senior in high school and I didn’t know who Eric Clapton was! I finally learned! Hearing these guys and the music they played made me pay attention. It was the first time I had ever experienced anything so powerful that would make me stop what I was doing an pay attention. It’s still the only music that I know that will do that to me. It naturally drew me in and I’ve been there ever since!
How does it feel to be called “a great guitarist” by legend B.B. King?
B.B. King is the greatest inspiration to me in my life. Not only musically but life in general. He inspires me every day even if he’s no longer here with us. To be called a great guitarist by him was incredible but after doing all of those shows with him and spending so much time with him before and after those shows is still one of the most fond memories I have in my life. But to top it all off, B.B. called me his friend and that means more than being called a great guitarist.
Do you find that your genre of music is underappreciated in the pop music world we are in today?
I think the sad thing about this topic is that if people could hear real blues rock they would like it. Its heard much more than people realize in commercials and ads. People enjoy it but they never know what they are hearing. Music is all about a popularity game now. People are not looking for that sound that makes them stop what they are doing and pay attention, I don’t think the majority of people know that even exists. People are being trained to listen to what is popular or what is on the radio. Live music just isn’t something that is a priority in American pop culture. Some people are lucky enough to seek out or find live shows from true artists.
Once you’ve sat at a live show and watched someone poor their honest heart out to you it makes you see music as an art. I would challenge people to find an artist no matter what the genre that you can cry or laugh or feel things that you can’t buy in a store. Once you’ve done this you will know what the art of music really is.
Tell us about your release of Live at the ’62 Center and how that came to be?
Live at the 62 was simply a dream of mine to do a live filming. People tell me all the time that they love my music but until they see me live they never understood what I’m all about. I wanted to do the show in a beautiful venue to enhance the filming. the 62 Center became the perfect choice. Not only is it a gorgeous venue, it is located in the center of my home town. The planning started and before I knew it the show was over and we had a gorgeous film and an awesome live recording.
Are we smelling a potential Grammy nomination for it next year?
The thought of that excites me. Of course I would love to even be considered for this. It is a life goal for me and every show that I play I think about achieving this goal!
Do you find yourself getting home much to Williamstown, and is it nostalgic each time?
I love my home town. It has changed a lot from when I was a kid but so has everything else. I have traveled and seen a lot of places in the world. I still haven’t found a place that I love as much as Williamstown.
When you are in Manhattan, what is your favorite place to eat and why?
I can buy a hot dog from a street vendor and be happy when I’m in Manhattan. I love to be there but unfortunately I haven’t found a single place that i can call my favorite place to eat. I’m open to suggestions!
What else do you have coming up in the next year?
Things are growing very rapidly with music for me. I am very excited and grateful of everything that has happened and is happening. It never seems like things happen fast enough but they do happen if you stick to it. I enjoy every minute of it so I look forward to every day that I get to share my music.
For more information on Albert Cummings, please check out his official website.