This two-time Grammy-winner (once with Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wings” and once as a solo artist) thrilled the Lyric audience in 2015, and is returning to continue to dazzle us with his wit, which is as evident in his playing as his absolute mastery of his instrument—not only in its standard implementation, but through a variety of tunings that allow him to express far more than one normally associates with the playing of a single acoustic guitar.
As an award-winning fingerstyle acoustic guitarist also known for his electric work as lead guitarist in Wings, LJ has a large following among guitar fans and Beatles/classic rock fans. His shows feature his original compositions along with amazing covers of Beatles and classic rock songs like “Layla” and “Little Wing” where he literally plays every melody of the song on just one guitar!
Pete Townsend of The Who simply exclaims, “A master!”
As a studio musician, LJ can be heard on recordings from artists as diverse as Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks to Seal to Barry Manilow, plus he is featured on the soundtracks to hundreds of TV shows such as Home Improvement and movies including the academy award-winning Dirty Dancing, Good Will Hunting, and Pocahontas.
You like video games? LJ co-composed the soundtrack of the award-winning video game Diablo III.
You watch the news? LJ crafted the score to the NBC Dateline documentary Children Of The Harvest. His music is also featured in the Ken Burns’ documentary The Tenth Inning.
In other words: You’ve Heard Him Even if You Haven’t Heard of Him!
LJ has released 17 critically acclaimed solo albums which feature his celebrated arrangements of popular tunes and genre-crossing compositions. In Fall 2010, he released the highly anticipated LJ Plays the Beatles Vol. 2. He was voted “Guitarist of the Year” by the readers of Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine and named one of the top acoustic guitar players of all time by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. A dynamic, entertaining performer and an accomplished clinician, LJ brings his passion for the guitar to venues around the world, creating a multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument. In Spring 2013 Laurence Juber released Under an Indigo Sky on Solid Air Records with a special limited edition vinyl for Record Store Day, and has just released LJ Can’t Stop Playing the Beatles.
At the heart of LJ’s sound and style breathes a near-flawless technique where a fiercely emotional underbelly, alternate tunings, and keen sense of melody and rhythm coalesce into something uniquely his own……you don’t have to be a solo-happy guitar worshipper to appreciate his talents.
– Inland Empire Weekly
New Year’s Eve EVE Party
w/The Downtown Livewires!
December 30, 2016 – 7:00PM to Midnight
(Party Begins at 7:00, Live Music Begins at 8:00)
The Downtown Livewires, based in one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, Northwest Arkansas (Bentonville/Fayetteville), play high energy Electric Blues/Rock, Memphis blues, and legacy blues. Audiences of their shows love to dance and sing along, no matter the venue, whether it be clubs, festivals, private parties, concerts, or city events. Now, they’re coming to The Lyric to provide music for our five-hour-long New Year’s Eve EVE Party! Come at 7 to grab some drinks and food, find a seat with your friends, and be ready for the show to begin at 8!
Down home Memphis blues in Northwest Arkansas? You bet—Just call THE DOWNTOWN LIVEWIRES! I’ve mixed countless bands over the years and these guys lay it down right. Always a pleasure to work with, too!
The Downtown Livewires are exactly that! LIVEWIRES! It’s like hiring a party in a box; They come with enthusiasm, talent, energy and always bring a happy crowd! The Downtown Livewires is a group of dedicated, knowledgeable, well- rehearsed and hardworking professional musicians who come to play their hearts out and raise the roof every time…
~ Andy Green, Director of Productions, Downtown Bentonville, Inc.
The leader of the band is Roger Thomas from Bentonville, Arkansas. Roger was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee (South-Central, Oakhaven neighborhood) until he was 30 (with some time in Harrison, Arkansas, during high school), playing professionally there through his 20’s. Roger is known for talking and picking out people in the audiences with whom to have on-stage conversations, sometimes jumping off the stage and playing, dancing and singing within the crowd. He also invites guests to sing songs on-stage, and maybe even play tambourine.
Bob “Super Harp” Coleman is out of New Haven, Connecticut, and is a world-class harmonica player who also sings some of the lead vocals. Bob has played with blues legends all over the country throughout his illustrious career.
Dan Doebele from Kansas City, Missouri is an absolute beast on lead electric guitar, is known by all other professional musicians to be one of the elite guitarists in the region, and plays slide with anything handy!
Kurt “Where’s Kurt?” Haas is on keyboards and vocals from Lone Star, Texas, and is known for his stellar new arrangements of old blues songs.
The rhythm section of Mark Vanderhoof on drums and Jan Sallings on bass is one of the most tenured blues rhythm sections in the country, and audience members often find themselves fixated on their musicianship and killer beats and fretboard runs.
The Downtown Livewires put on a show that is out of this world, absolutely engaging, full of fun and great party music, in which audiences keep calling them back for more!
I am never surprised when Roger Thomas and The Downtown Livewires Band brings the largest crowd of the summer to our City of Bentonville’s Orchard Concert Series. They bring their own crowd, and they have a great following. Over the last two years, they have proven to be professional, and one of the best sounds of any band we hire. We will continue to hire them for events in our city.
~ David Wright, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Bentonville
Need more recommendations? See Roger’s personal Facebook page where he not only has 4,200+ “Likes,” but segments them by town/city based on where the band plays for events. The Downtown Livewires have fans from all over—and a lot of them travel to every show within a few hours’ drive…so don’t sleep on this, thinking that you’ll always be able to get tickets! This will be a sold out show!
The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin’ band, and that’s exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does[…]. Cummings effortlessly shifts from chimney subdued stylings to raucous roadhouse raunch to soaring yet stinging lead lines, driving his audience to frenzy in all the right places.” – Guitar Edge Magazine
Blues-rock guitar in all its glory is headed to historic Lyric Theater, as Harrison, Arkansas enjoys “An Evening with Albert Cummings” on Friday, September 23 at 7:00 PM, for which tickets are now available.
Albert Cummings writes, plays and sings the blues like nobody else. He has played with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy. Taken with Albert’s fire and passion bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton, of the band Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section, volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart.
From these blues greats to Merle Haggard to Led Zeppelin, Albert’s influences coalesce in lyrics that display a country/working man’s sensibility and the guitar virtuosity that rock fans love—a style that covers the best of hard-driving blues, slides comfortably over to intricate ballads, and comes charging right back again “with unbridled ferocity and deep soulfulness…his depth and expression are matched only by his terrifying technique and tone.”
The 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. In his late teens he encountered the early recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan and was floored by the virtuosity. While in college in 1987 he saw Vaughan perform and he returned to the guitar with a new outlook and resolve.
The whiz-kid carpenter began his ascent to masterful blues rock guitarist at age 27, with his first public performance on guitar. Soon he was on the Northeast blues circuit with his band, Swamp Yankee. In 1998 he walked into a Northeast Blues Society open jam, which led to Cummings’ winning the right to compete in the Blues Foundation’s 1999 International Blues Challenge. The following year Albert released his debut recording, The Long Way.Bluesprint magazine said it was “a barrage of guitar pyrotechnics that calls to mind a grand mix of the styles of past masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Hendrix.”
That in turn opened up an opportunity for him to work with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section. So taken with Albert’s fire and passion were bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that they volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart. Recorded in Austin, Texas, it featured Cummings fronting Double Trouble (including Reese Winans) in their first recording project since Stevie Ray’s passing. No less a giant of the blues than B.B. King dubbed Cummings “a great guitarist.”
Cummings’ soulful and explosive approach to blues and rock caught the attention of Blind Pig Records, which signed him to a multi-album deal. On his label debut, True to Yourself, released in 2004, Cummings was again joined by bassist Tommy Shannon. Recorded by producer extraordinaire Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray, Buddy Guy), the album rocks hard from start to finish. The all-original release showcased Albert’s rapidly developing songwriting chops and deeply emotional vocals as well as stunning guitar pyrotechnics, leading Guitar One to exclaim, “He attacks his axe with unbridled ferocity and deep soulfulness… his depth and expression are matched only by his terrifying technique and tone.”
“a barrage of guitar pyrotechnics that calls to mind a grand mix of the styles of past masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Hendrix. – Bluesprint Magazine
Soon tours and shows with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and others brought Albert’s music to a much larger audience.
His second release, Working Man (2006), also produced by Jim Gaines, betrays a growing focus and maturity both in Albert’s stinging, incisive guitar work as well as in his fluently idiomatic songwriting. From the punchy, stomping cover of Merle Haggard’s blue collar standard “Working Man Blues” to the deeply emotive ballad “Last Dance” that closes the disc, Albert’s songs are always concise and direct, driven by his uniquely muscular yet polished guitar wizardry. Billboard said, “This recording is the calling card of a blues star who has arrived. Cummings’ guitar work is sizzling. This is one of the top blues albums of 2006.”
In 2008 Albert recorded his first live album, Feel So Good, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts at the historic Colonial Theatre, a 95-year-old “little jewel box” – that’s what James Taylor calls it – that’s hosted everyone from Will Rogers to Al Jolson. The audience was so enthralled and supportive they became part of the performance in a way that’s rarely heard. As AllMusic put it, “It sounds like it was one hell of a party that night.”
Albert and his band responded with a blistering set of great originals and killer covers of Zeppelin, Little Feat and Muddy Waters tunes. With producer Jim Gaines again at the controls and Albert’s incredible display of guitar virtuosity and deep emotion, this is one live performance that is bound to become a blues rock classic.
Guitar Edge magazine said, “The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin’ band, and that’s exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does on his new Feel So Good. Cummings effortlessly shifts from chimney subdued stylings to raucous roadhouse raunch to soaring yet stinging lead lines, driving his audience to frenzy in all the right places.”
Music Connection called it “one of the best live albums recorded in a long time” and Blurt added, “Cummings’ first live album provides the perfect showcase for the fiery guitarist’s axe-handling skills and enormous onstage charisma.”
In 2011 Albert released an instructional DVD for the Hal Leonard Corporation entitled Working Man Blues Guitar. Cummings’ next CD, No Regrets, was self-released in 2012. It was a return to his true musical roots for the six-string virtuoso, poignantly capturing the core of his influences, displaying the impact that R&B, Rock, Soul, Country and the Blues have had on both his playing and writing. It debuted at #1 on iTunes music charts in the USA, Canada and France.
“An Evening with Albert Cummings” is scheduled at the historic Lyric Theater on the Harrison, Arkansas square for Friday, September 23 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are now available.
Jack Broadbent is an incredible singer/songwriter who started his career with busking (performing in the street, sitting on a small amp with the public throwing coins into his open guitar case) and has been leaving audiences spellbound from the very first. His live shows and unique style of slide guitar (take a look at that ‘slide’ up close!) are a demonstration of what real music is: not the tools, but the musician—what the heart and hands of the artist can do with whatever media life has set before him. The key to his performance on stage is that he never forgets the need to draw a crowd on the street and he treats his ticketed-in-advance audiences today as deserving that same “I have to prove myself worthy to them” attitude that drew the crowds on the street and the millions of YouTube viewers.
The Blues has not seen such Good News in quite some time
~ Bootsy Collins
Raised in rural England and with a musician father, Jack was brought up on a diet of music that would later be evident as his main influences, including acts such as John Lee Hooker, Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
With feet planted firmly in an authentic blues style, Jack Broadbent in now making waves globally as one of the most exciting modern bluesmen of our time. Jack’s slide performances are attracting millions of views online and a rapidly expanding fan base.
Experiencing Jack Broadbent live is an opportunity not to be missed!