A simple, yet appealing album that wears its musical heart on its sleeve.
Originating from Baltimore, Craig Cummings is a prolific songwriter who has penned hundreds of songs over the years, with his latest release ‘The Gulf Between Us’ being his fifth album. Like the majority of performing artists out there, he spilt his time between jobs with his main career being in education and teaching while gigging extensively throughout the mid-Atlantic area in states such as Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, before making the move to writing and performing full time. His 2019 release, ‘Absolute Surprise’, was voted a finalist for Best Americana/Country Album by the Washington Area Music Association and reached #29 on the national Roots Music Chart.
As with his previous releases ‘The Gulf Between Us’ is simple and direct and largely depicts first-person accounts inviting the listener to observe life through the eyes of his characters, telling the stories directly though the experience of their reality. The title track sets both the scene and tone for the whole album, commenting as it does on the division and discord that seems so rife, not just in his home country of the USA, but in many other parts of the so-called “developed” world. The social commentary continues with the ‘Southern Wall‘, which details the story of challenges facing those desperately trying to enter the US across it’s southern border with Mexico and it’s hard to tell whether their biggest tests are evading the criminal gangs to the south, the US border patrol to the north or the searing days and bitterly cold nights in the Sonoran desert.
Given that most of the album has written and recorded during the Covid19 pandemic lockdown, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find the album ending with ‘Safe’, a track-focused on the uncertainties and doubts faced by almost everyone as we wrestle with missing loved ones, the abnormality of the virus restrictions and a yearning to get to normality. Craig Cummings lyrics are very direct, you don’t have to scratch your head trying to decipher the meaning and combined with his warm, engaging voice and fine guitar playing it makes for an enjoyable listen.
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