Ten marks a creative milestone for Massachusetts-based Albert Cummings. It’s easily his most stylistically diverse recording to date, in addition to his most personal. It’s also an album that looks to Nashville, where it was recorded under the guidance of Chuck Ainlay (Mark Knopfler).
That said, it’s clear from the first three tracks – an urgent, straight-up rocker called “Need Somebody,” the less serious but equally hard-driving “Too Old to Grow Up,” and the barroom anthem “Last Call” (with a harmony vocal from Vince Gill) – that the Strat-slinging Cummings won’t be donning a cowboy hat anytime soon.
But with his blues and rock bona fides intact, the artist explores other, more-personal terrain. “Beautiful Bride,” which Cummings first released in 2003, is a gentle ballad written for his wife. And “Meet the Man,” a song that sat on the shelf for more than a decade, was penned for Cummings’ late father. With a brooding guitar line, the tune emits a spirituality never before heard on a Cummings release.
For this bluesman, Ten is more than a number. It’s a diverse collection of songs that hints at a broader embrace of sounds and styles beyond the realm of contemporary blues-rock.
This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.