NUVO Interview: Albert Cummings 

Massachusetts bluesman Albert Cummings just released his first live album, Feels So Good (Blind Pig). It was recorded at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass.

“This place was closed and abandoned,” Cummings says. “It goes back to the ’30s and ’40s. Then they restored it. It’s a really nice theater where you could play an acoustic guitar without an amp.”

It’s common enough that Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble inspire many white guitarists under the age of 50. In Cummings’ case, Double Trouble lent a hand in getting his career off the ground.

“The RPI Fieldhouse is the last place I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble play,” Cummings explains. “There was a mini blues festival going on there. They wanted a local band, which turned out to be me. The festival asked me whom I would suggest for a national headliner. I was joking when I said Double Trouble. We sent them my demo and two weeks later they said they would do it. I was floored. The next time I entered the field house, I was playing there and with Double Trouble.”

Cummings’ original band was called Swamp Yankee thanks to “a creative friend I went to high school with.” Soon things changed.

“First, it’s too white trash a name,” he explains. “Then I had to change it because what happens after the first round of musicians is gone. Then it becomes Swamp Yankee featuring Albert Cummings. So I just changed it to Albert Cummings. B.B. King once told me, ‘I call my band B.B. King. If I show up and it’s only me, it’s still B.B. King. It’s in the contract.’”

Cummings promises an evening of meat and potatoes blues.

“We’re just three guys on stage,” Cummings says. “You have bands that add horns and strings and extra guitar and their live show sounds nothing like the album. What you hear on the CD is what you get. Three guys playing music with no smoke and mirrors. ”

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