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
How about Some Musical Sleight of Hand? The Magic of the Piano with Scott Carrell!
Sunday, June 24 at 2:00PM
“We were very honored that he included Oklahoma State University on his tour schedule. While the audience was dazzled by his technical brilliance, they were also drawn in by his thoughtful musical interpretation. He was so engaging and knowledgeable as he talked to the audience; students and community members alike felt as though they came away having learned a great deal. It was also a real treat to have the opportunity to hear him perform his own wonderful composition.”
– Ms. Heather Lanners, Assistant Professor of Piano
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
Showcasing well-known masterpieces as well as less familiar works deserving greater recognition, pianist Scott Carrell is known for his virtuosic flair, expressive playing and informative comments. From Romantic fireworks to graceful classics, he gives audiences the “highest level of classical music entertainment and education.” Now he brings that virtuosity and desire to give all he has received also to every audience member the historic Lyric Theater on the Harrison, Arkansas square. June 24 at 2:00PM is the time for the event and tickets are available in advance for $7.50; at the door, they will be $10.
A native of Texas, Carrell has performed numerous recitals as soloist and as collaborator, including concerto appearances with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra, the Southwestern University Orchestra, the Plainview Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Civic Orchestra, the Little Rock Wind Symphony, the New York Classical Players, and twice with the Harding University/Community Orchestra.
An active chamber musician, he co-founded the Searcy Chamber Music Series and has performed on many of its concerts. He has also performed in recital and small ensembles in Florence, Italy, and Mainz, Germany and was the guest artist for the 2011 Robert Herrin Piano Festival at Texarkana College. In 2014, Carrell was invited to Guangzhou, China, to perform a concert, to give lectures, and to teach piano students in masterclasses. Most recently, he was the featured artist for the 2017 Scott Joplin Festival at Northwest Missouri State University, giving a recital, lecture, and masterclass.
In 2005 his compact disc Crossings was released, including the world premiere recording of the title work, an original composition based on a painting by an Arkansas artist. The disc Ragtime Memories was released in 2007. Other premieres of original works include a Suite for Brass Quintet (2011), Dance for Oboe and Piano (2011), and Conversation for double-reed trio (2015).
Carrell has spent much of his career exploring the music of French composers, with an emphasis on finding unknown masterpieces deserving recognition. This work has resulted in several concerts of French music and in the release in 2016 of the disc Piano Works of Noël Gallon, featuring world premiere recordings of music by a Paris Conservatory professor.
Receiving degrees from Southwestern University, the University of Illinois, and the D.M.A. from the University of North Texas, Carrell studied with internationally-known artists Drusilla Huffmaster, Ian Hobson, and Vladimir Viardo and participated in masterclasses with Abbey Simon, Gail Delente, and Dominique Merlet. The French Piano Institute awarded him a prize for the best performance of a work by Henri Dutilleux at the 1996 FPI Festival in Paris, France. He was also honored with the Distinguished Teacher Award from Harding University for the 2003-2004 and 2012-2013 academic years.
An active member of the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association, he has presented sessions at both regional and state conferences and serves as a division coordinator of MTNA. Currently teaching piano, piano-related courses, and music theory at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, Carrell is in demand as a soloist, collaborative artist, teacher, and adjudicator.
“Wild West Fairytale Rock Music” It’s an Album Release Show with White Fox Kill!
Saturday, June 23 at 7:30PM
“I wasn’t exactly sure what I was gonna be hearing when I walked into AJ’s for my first White Fox Kill show; (my wife calls me a music snob). They settled into their first song and I knew this was gonna be somethin’ special. Wow….They absolutely Killed it!!!!!…Ozarks Original…..Must See Band. Support your Local Music People, you’re lucky to have these guys in the area!!!!”
The Ozark Arts Council is delighted to host the album release show for alternative rock band White Fox Kill. The doors of the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks—Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater—will open at 6:30 for a 7:30 performance on Saturday, June 23. Adult beverages and general concessions will be available throughout this album release party. Tickets are available in advance for $10; at the door, they will be $15.
From “the southern wild jungles of Arkansas” comes a new breed of Alternative Rock that has resonated with fans across a broad spectrum of genres: White Fox Kill is exactly the sort of band that those who know Americana and want more of a rock edge would expect to hear at the Lyric!
With influences that range from Johnny Cash to Eminem, from the psychedelic, proto-progressive rock sounds of Pink Floyd to the blue-collar rock of Bruce Springsteen and back to the blues underpinnings of rock giants Led Zeppelin, White Fox Kill has no problem weaving together both lyrical and musical images that are both pleasing and challenging. Considering that they are fans of some of the greatest roots music lyricists of the past century—Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt—and have an expressiveness akin to some of today’s top artists (from Kings of Leon to Lana Del Rey), their willingness to mix styles to get their point across is the very picture of being an Arkansawyer in the modern world: they build on the best of the past and extract the best from today, as well. The influences of Nirvana and The Pixies come through, as well, in the band’s willingness to mix hard and soft, all to present their ‘jungles of Arkansas’ take on their subject matter.
White Fox Kill has been honing their craft on the road and in the studio, releasing several songs (complete with on screen lyrics) via YouTube the past couple of years. Recently, they were able to complete their first album, with Scott Hoffmann in charge of production. He says that they went for a “raw, puckish” sound that lets the composition of the music shine forth as both simple and complex, allowing the hearer to fix on the lyrics that are, he says, “reminiscent of Lennon, Dylan, Cobain, and Townes [Van Zandt].”
Summer Lip Sync Showdown! in support of Ozark Rape Crisis Center
Saturday, June 2 at 7:00PM
Ozark Rape Crisis Center is hosting a Summer Lip Sync Showdown fundraiser on June 2nd at the historic Lyric Theater. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
Check out this video on how you can get involved & support victims of sexual violence in our community.
The Ozark Rape Crisis Center provides 24-Hour Crisis Intervention and Advocacy services for victims of sexual violence, as well as violence prevention education for the general public in Boone, Carroll, Johnson, Marion, Newton, Pope and Searcy Counties in Arkansas.
“Fun, Fun, Fun” is on Its Way: Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute
Sunday, July 22 at 2:00PM
“Better than the actual Beach Boys!” “Our all time favorite program at the Club EVER!” “How soon can we have them back?” are just some of the comments our club members made after Sail On performed on our stage. Our 450 members of the audience enjoyed great harmonies and the musicianship that each member of the band brought to the show. Sail On delivered a fun, high energy show of classic songs that filled our evening with summery good vibrations.
– Director of a Private Club in Dallas
Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute, the world’s fastest-growing tribute to the music of The Beach Boys, will be playing all your favorite hits such as Good Vibrations, Fun Fun Fun, Barbara Ann and more at Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater at a special matinee performance on Sunday, July 22.
Tickets are available in advance at a deeply discounted price, thanks to our wonderful sponsors! Sail On has consecutively sold-out multiple shows ranging from 300 to 700 seats and is sure to sell out very rapidly at the Lyric with these radically-discounted prices!
Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute focuses on performing songs by America’s Band, The Beach Boys, to sheer perfection. Members of Sail On have performed with musicians from Brian Wilson’s band, The Zombies, Earth Wind and Fire, Cheap Trick, Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere and the Raiders), and produced recordings for Micky Dolenz.
Boone County Original Southern Confession
and Special Guest Harvey Stone!
Friday, July 20 at 7:00PM
Get ready for some killer Alternative Southern Rock with a Boone County Original: Southern Confession, comes home to Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater for a special performance with Branson’s favorite alternative rockers, Harvey Stone on Friday, July 20, 2018, at 7:000PM. Tickets are available in advance at a deeply discounted price, thanks to the desire of these great bands to give back to the communities that launched them!
Over the past five years, Southern Confession has played all over the mid-south region of the country and has become well known both for the breadth of styles that they cover (both with their own songs and those that have resonated with all of us for decades) and for the live show energy that draws you in and keeps you there throughout the evening.
With the closing of some live performance venues in the Harrison area and a need to keep performing, Southern Confession has had to schedule shows farther away from home lately (and for the rest of the year), but wants to take the opportunities it can to give back to the community that has so embraced them throughout their history. For that reason, they have not only scheduled themselves to play for the free “May Days on the Square” during Harrison’s Crawdad Days festival, but drummer Jody Marshall actually undertook the coordination of all of the live music on the Square for that weekend! Along with that, though, the band wants to give everyone a great time in the middle of summer, bringing you into the cool environs of the historic Lyric…and that with their good friends from Branson, Harvey Stone, and all at a highly-discounted price…or two…!
Yes, there are two prices for tickets purchased in advance: the already-amazingly-low $7.50, and the even-more-amazingly-low $5.00, which is offerred to anyone who wants to see both Southern Confession on July 20 and Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute on July 22! The band doesn’t want anyone to be left out because feeding the kids and paying the mortgage need to come before seeing them, but they also realize that to keep the Lyric open we have to pay bills, too…so they and we have cut things to the point of just barely covering expenses, so that our whole community can come together to celebrate the summer together at the Lyric. Thanks to the sponsors for Sail On, that means that you can come to both concerts for less than we would typically have to charge for one—and far less than Sail On tickets alone are costing in most venues!
Lawless & Mae, a classic country and rock n’ roll duo will perform at the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks, Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater on Friday, April 6, 2018, at 7:000PM. Tickets are available in advance for $10; at the door, they will be $15. Don’t miss their superb quality and high energy entertainment, for lovers of country, bluegrass, and even rock n’ roll!
Jack Lawless and Rebecca Mae instantly capture their audience with their fabulous tonal quality, impressive stage presence, dynamic energy, style, and personable interactive charm.
This incredible duo, which won the Josie Music Awards prestigious 2017 “Fans’ Choice” award, provides top shelf, world-class entertainment that wows crowds of all ages with a wide variety of tunes that span the decades. They are well known for performing many of the great duets of Country Legends like George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash & June Carter, Waylon Jennings & Jessi Coulter, along with favorites from great Country Legend soloists like Patsy Cline, Lynn Anderson, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Dolly Parton, and others.
Their show doesn’t stop there, though! Beside their Classic Country sounds, they perform Bluegrass, New Country, and traditional Rock’n’Roll, including great original material.
Jack Lawless has traveled the U.S. and Canada performing at casinos, on cruise ships, festivals and fairs. He has opened for many of the greats, like Kenny Rogers, Exile, The Gatlin Brothers, Lynn Anderson, Ronnie Milsap, Little Eva, Jerry Reed, Sawyer Brown, and many more. On May 27, 2012 at “Thunder On The Rock” in Monte Eagle, TN Confederate Railroad invited Jack up on stage to play guitar and Jack has since gone on to perform as a guest at several of their concerts. Jack not only sings great country but also performs songs from the 50’s and 60’s along with many popular rock n roll and R&B hits.
Do yourself a favor and go see Lawless & Mae…and listen to some real, traditional, Country and Gospel music! – Douglass Chapel UMC
Rebecca Mae is an award-winning vocalist and entertainer who has traveled the North America performing as a featured soloist at casinos, fairs, and festivals, including featured-artist performances at the Country Tonite Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN, Silver Dollar City, the American Lawn Mower Racing Association festivals, and just about anywhere that fans of country music will gather to have a good time…like at our own “Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks,” the historic Lyric Theater!
Extraordinary Nomadic Roots/Folk
with Ordinary Elephant
Thursday, February 8 at 7:00PM
“Their harmonies, singing, the whole presentation…as genuine as it gets”
– Lloyd Maines
Ordinary Elephant will perform at the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks, Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater on February 8 at 7:00PM, with special guest opener Kerri and Stefan Szabo (National Park Radio). Tickets are available in advance for $10; at the door, they will be $15.
Brought to the Lyric Theater by the Crooked Creek Concert Association, Ordinary Elephant captivates listeners with their well-honed combination of insightful writing, effortless harmonies and intertwined clawhammer banjo and guitar. Husband and wife duo Crystal and Pete Damore have been performing together since 2011, but their 2017 sophomore release ‘Before I Go’ established them nationally and internationally. Quickly receiving the support of the folk community, the album reached No. 2 on the Folk DJ Chart for January of this year with their opening track ‘Best of You,’ not only setting the tone of the record, but capturing the No. 3 Song of the Month slot, and also secured them slots as a 2017 Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Finalist and Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist. Crystal and Pete have lived the song’s message—being moved to create, perform, and put everything into what they do.
‘Before I Go’ is also exciting European ears. Upon his review of the album, Dani Heyvaert of Rootstime.be said “I remember when Gillian Welch and David Rawlings were here for the first time…I suspect that this couple is going to play in the same league in the foreseeable future.”
These were particularly welcome words given that it was Gillian’s playing that led to Ordinary Elephant’s particular configuration. From an early age Pete has been a guitarist, but once Welch’s “Hard Times” came across his car stereo speakers, the banjo beckoned. The realization of how well the clawhammer style he was unearthing complemented Crystal’s lyrically rooted singer-songwriter approach was a happy accident at the kitchen table one night, which led to many more nights of collaboration.
…their voices were made to go together and we’d all feel deprived if for some reason they chose not to sing together.
– Bill Aspinwall, Texas Music Journal
This collaboration of husband and wife, their connection, and their influences (such as Guy Clark, Darrell Scott, Anais Mitchell, Mary Gauthier, Cahalen Morrison and Eli West) all meet on stage. You see it, hear it, and then you find
yourself truly feeling it. Pete’s understated, melodic and mellow banjo weaves through Crystal’s steady and clean rhythm guitar, and poetic lyrics are purposefully delivered in rich harmony, “like their voices were made to go together and we’d all feel deprived if for some reason they chose not to sing together.” (Bill Aspinwall, Texas Music Journal)
After growing up a state apart, Crystal in Louisiana and Pete in Texas, the two found each other at a weekly songwriter night in Bryan, Texas in late 2009. After a couple of years of co-writing and developing their sound, Ordinary Elephant brought their music to Houston with a move in late 2011. They recorded their 2013 debut album ‘Dusty Words & Cardboard Boxes’ there, which garnered a nomination for Vocal Duo of the Year at the 2014 Texas Music Awards. Today, they happily call the road home after shedding most of their possessions in 2014 to take on nomadic life. Living full-time in a van and travel trailer with their dogs, they are exploring the country, creating, and uncovering attentive audiences with which to share the conversation of their music.
I’m impressed by many things, but mostly by the songwriting style…[the lyrics are] very economical and stripped down, but seem to effortlessly evoke the kind of poignancy and emotion someone expects of artists with more salt on their shoulders.
– Chuck Hawthorne
Ordinary Elephant will perform at the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks, Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater on February 8 at 7:00PM, with special guest opener Kerri and Stefan Szabo (National Park Radio). Tickets are available in advance for $10; at the door, they will be $15.
Listening to Ordinary Elephant live was a real treat. Tight harmonies, solid songwriting, and an overall musical experience comparable to the best of T Bone Burnett
– Ray Younkin
“North Americana” — Quebec to Boston to NOLA to Harrison, Arkansas…
Ray Bonneville Returns to the Lyric!
Tuesday, February 13 at 7PM
“Ray Bonneville is THE one songwriter you need if you love to get lost in words. Words that create pictures like the best movies you’ve never seen. Stark. Honest. Stripped to the bone.” – John Hahn
The poetry, the raw honesty of heart and voice and instrument that is Ray Bonneville, is headed back to The Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks, Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater, on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:00PM . Tickets are now available.
Red House recording artist Ray Bonneville is a blues poet of the demimonde whose acclaimed performance groove is the product of a unique, electric guitar style, unrivaled harmonica tone, smoky vocal and unwavering foot percussion. A native French Canadian, Ray is a celebrated songwriter and lives in Austin, Texas. He plays more than 150 shows a year in the US, Canada, and Europe. His performances are riveting and deep, yet full of humor and joy.
Ray has created and mastered a fusion of traditional American Roots and Blues music all his own and deeply influenced by his upbringing in French Canada and the years he spent writing and playing music in New Orleans. He is known as the master of the slow burn, the groove, and is one of the best harmonica players alive today.
Honing his songwriting craft for the last 35 years, “Bonneville’s raw, tell-it-like-it-is storytelling style has won him critical acclaim” (Jim Blum, “Ray Bonneville: True-to-Life Troubadour” NPR Music – Favorite Sessions, May 28, 2008). He has “shared the stage with blues heavyweights B.B. King, Muddy Waters, J.J. Cale, and Robert Cray, and has been nominated for three Juno awards (Canada’s version of the Grammys), winning the 2000 Best Blues Album for his third album Gust of Wind (1999). His fourth release Rough Luck was also nominated, as was his 2004 Red House debut Roll It Down. Since then, his star has been on the rise, with his award-winning release Goin’ By Feel, his folk-charting cover of Bob Dylan’s song “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” (featured on A Nod to Bob 2: An Artists Tribute to Bob Dylan on His 70th Birthday).
In 2009, Ray won the Folk Alliance International Song of the Year award for I Am the Big Easy, featuring post-Katrina New Orleans, and in 2012, he won the International Blues Challenge solo category in Memphis. Having released Easy Gone in 2014, Ray announced this past Summer that he would be releasing a new album in the near future, so he brings to the Lyric’s stage both his previous treasury of great songwriting and what is currently inspiring him to write and perform, so we are in for a great show in Harrison!
Ray is a hard driving, blues dipped, song and groove man who writes about people who live on the fringe of society with a vibe that is loose and soulful. With a greasy guitar style, horn-like harmonica, smoky vocals and pulsing foot percussion he rivets audiences. As John Hahn has said,
Ray Bonneville is the master of rainy nights, of black and white footage of bar lights going out as a man turns up his collar and heads home alone. He captures the outsider inside all of us.
Ray’s last appearance at the Lyric was in 2010, so it’s been a long, long wait for us, but the Ozark Arts Council is pleased and proud to present the hard-driving honesty of Ray Bonneville in a special Tuesday night performance at 7:00 on February 13. Tickets are now available.
“Ray Bonneville is like gunpowder and opium.”
– Ray Wylie Hubbard
Gritty Blues from and for the Working Man Albert Cummings Returns to the Lyric!
Friday, March 23 at 7PM
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 back to the 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, March 23 at 7:00PM . Tickets are now available.