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“Meet the Man” by Albert Cummings

Some singer/songwriters can’t make a big statement without an equally imposing backdrop to rest against, but Albert Cummings isn’t one of these players. The fluff and instrumental buffering that often comes between an artist and audience – usually out of nervousness in the former – is simply not present in the new single “Meet the Man,” and the absence of detail is actually the strongest component shedding a spotlight on Cummings’ voice. He’s got a classic country crooning style down to a science, and here, it’s able to flourish the way it needs to without sounding predictable or stock in any way.

Cummings is putting everything he’s got into these harmonies, and yet they don’t bear any of the brawniness that they would were they given a sonic boost from behind the board. Rather than utilizing the depth of the recording studio, I appreciate the conservative attitude this player is taking to the recording of this song, not only because of what he’s able to draw from it but because it leaves a lot of room open to improvisation in a live performance. “Meet the Man” is powerful here, but it could be downright haunting in the right sort of setting.

I hear a strong gospel influence over the ascent in this single that really adds to the vacuum effect of the melodies, and if pressed I believe Cummings would acknowledge the diversity of aesthetics that he’s putting into play for his latest release. There’s Americana, gospel, rock, and old-school country living and breathing within the artistry of “Meet the Man,” and it mixes together so brilliantly that we never feel like we’re listening to a stretched-out hybrid that has been made specifically with the goal of capitalizing on the crossover trend in Nashville and beyond.

The passion that Albert Cummings sings “Meet the Man” with is really something, and when I first sat down with the song I immediately connected with the emotion he pours into every one of these words. When a country singer is inauthentic, there’s rarely anything to hide behind in the big picture (which is all the truer of this single), and we’re given a daring performance from this player when you consider how few of his contemporaries have openly chased the kind of vulnerability he’s made a centerpiece for this single. It’s refreshing and certainly bodes well for the mainstream exposure he’s after.

A soaring country vocal makes “Meet the Man” quite listenable no matter what time of year it is, but the autumnal glow of the narrative suggests that this could be a dark ballad able to keep the heat turned up all summer long. Whether you’re big on country music or not, Albert Cummings has a nice dynamic to his music that I would recommend checking out either way, and his sound is perhaps best broken down for the audience in a single like “Meet the Man,” where there’s nothing to get in our way of hearing everything he can do.

Mindy McCall

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