With famed producer Jim Gaines at the controls, and Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon teamed up with crack Austin session men B.E . Frosty Smith and keyboard player Riley Osborne, the highly regarded Albert Cummings has it all to do to leave his own mark on a mix of funky blues, time honoured shuffles and rock blues. That he is capable of doing precisely that is a measure of his extraordinary guitar playing ability as he draws on his full repertoire to fulfil the potential of each song.
And while in truth some of the songs here are not the greatest in the world, Albert has that rare ability to transcend the framework at hand and take his playing to other places. 'Come Up For Air' for example is a tough rocker that might have come from at least a handful of name guitar players, but as on the otherwise pedestrian 'Blues Makes Me Feel So Good', it's the fluid runs and the tonal attack that makes Albert a 'players players'. On 'Where Did I Go Wrong' he unleashes a monumental volley of sustain and big toned notes over the slickest of rhythm sections and by the second turnaround he's smoking and driving on his band beyond the limits of a mundane funk workout.
Similarly the borrowed lyrical clichés that flesh out the boogie 'Your Sweet Love' are rescued by a thunderous backing track and some heavy duty guitar wah wah inflected guitar lines. Producer Gaines allows Albert just enough space in the mix to take his solos to the limit. Albert's power is devastating, and the live in the studio feel lifts the performance from the restrained to the elevated.
And just as if to emphasize that there is an element of light and shade to the proceeding Albert slips into acoustic mode on the suitably titled 'Sleep', which proves to be the gentlest of workouts. He then brings some real intensity to relationship break up song, 'Separately' as his guitar takes the place of the narrator in a concluding note drenched avalanche that wrings every last drop of emotion from the song. And as if this emotional roller coaster hadn't already wreaked enough havoc Albert throws in a slow blues full of snake like solo's that explore the outer contours of the number.
Quite simply Albert Cummings is a guitar heavy weight who on 'True to Yourself' has attempted to develop the song writing side of his talent. But let's face it when you have the kind of inspired chops this guy has, it's the notes and feel of his guitar playing that will surely continue to bring in the crowds. 'True To Yourself' is but a pit stop for a guitarist on the up escalator.