(Hollywood, Calif) - Rising singer-songwriter-guitarist Michael Z. Cummings celebrates the release of his new album "Storyteller" with a CD Release Party this Saturday, August 20 at the Pig N' Whistle, 6714 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Showtime 8:30 p.m. $10. Info: (323) 463-0485 or log onto www.myspace.com/pignwhistlehollywood.
Michael Z. Cummings is also the Spotlight Artist on American Veterans Radio for the week of August 21-28. Log onto www.avradio.org to listen.
"Storyteller's" thirteen songs are poignant from-the-heart odes that are a soulful hodgepodge of Blues, Folk, Americana, and Country. On tunes such as "The Chronic Relapser," "Family Blues" and "Sexy Lips and Shapely Hips," Cummings pastes together various peices of his past written poetry, all of stories of his past life, interactions of friends, family and foe, and the current state of America - using his vocals, guitar, harmonica, lap steel and more. Michael is not quite a cynic, but he also does not see the world as saintly. This allows him to create organically raw music and lyrics that will remind listeners of their past, their childhood, ex-lovers, what they do not like in the world today and why they keep on living. "Storyteller," indeed, is a respite for the soul of all who listen.
The multi-instrumentalist (he plays guitar and harp, very much in the style of the great Bob Dylan) recently performed at Rock For Vets 2 and is very active donating his time to causes such as teaching Paralyzed Veterans to play guitar on a weekly basis, as well as the Hollywood Free Clnic where he also recently performed.
Michael Z. Cummings writes songs about people, for people. The Los Angeles-based, singer-songwriter-guitarist grew up in Boston surrounded by music. The deep bluesy music of Son House and Mississippi John Hurt oozed through the cracks of his brother's room. The street performances, live gigs and public performances by the students at Berklee, Boston Conservatory and New England Conservatory were a constant happening. From records, tapes and the radio, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles, and were listened to, synthesized and memorized. This is why Michael picked up a guitar and just started playing.
And play he did. Electric Rhythm Guitar with a flat pick, Classical guitar, Ragtime, Jazz and Country pickin'. Michael also used his vocals and his amazing writing talent to express his observations of the world around him. Becoming a singer/songwriter was about connecting emotionally with listeners. To him it was about becoming less of a guitarist and more of a poet; less of a participant and more of an observer. This, in turn, led to Michael's 2010 Los Angeles Music Awards nomination for "Best Male Songwriter." His always-humble demeanor and keen eye for the human experience makes him a musician who moves listeners to both action and reflection.
Cummings is very active with the California Paralyzed Veterans Association (CPVA). "In 2008 I was seeking a charity to involve myself with and attended a barbecue benefit that year sponsored by the CPVA," Cummings says. "At that barbecue I met and became friends with the Director of the hospital (a paralyzed veteran himself - CPVA President Arthur F. Lyles). I immediately felt strongly about their organization. And what stunned me the most was how some paralyzed vets were happier then many people I meet (in everyday life). "As I got to know these truly gifted individuals thru my guitar lessons at the VA hospital and other interactions," Michael continued, "I found they were happy people before their accidents...I also felt a need in my life to surround myself with individuals who could and would lift me up. People I myself could learn a few lessons in life from. As time passed my program of guitar lessons took on more meaning in my life. Now I am currently involved in trying to raise $10,000 to pave their basketball court. I hope to do that thru live shows and CD donations as well as solicitation," Cummings concludes.
What follows is a brief synopsis (in his own words) of the songs on Storyteller.
We Were So Content: "A lonely man self-reflects upon past mistakes made and his struggle to move on while still in love...yet alone."
Honesty Knocked On My Back Door: "A man's struggle with aging and the past."
The Chronic Relapser: "An intimate look at a recovering alcoholic's rise to sobriety."
Sexy Lips & Shapely Hips: "A man's realization that his girlfriend had a secret lover."
A Perfect Gentleman: "A travel in time with a couple that are truly in love."
Family Blues: "A satirical look at a young man's interaction with his family."
Now You See: "Briefly outlines a young woman's consistently poor judgement in her choice of men, despite her mother's warnings."
Kings On Strings: "A humorous look at the current state of politics in the world we live in today."
In Memory Of: "A self-bio where I reflect on my memories of my departed brother."
Colliding Clouds: "An airy, relaxing instrumental in which banjos and dobros collide."
Don't Down For Free: "My comical plea that explores the challenges of a musician's rights to collect royalties."
MICHAEL Z. CUMMINGS - UPCOMING LIVE SHOWS & SPECIAL EVENTS CALENDAR
Aug. 20 (Sat.) PIG N' WHISTLE (CD Release Party) Hollywood
Aug. 21 (Sun.) AMERICAN VETERANS RADIO World Wide Web