Craig Cummings Music

Some Thoughts About My Songwriters Showcase at Joe Squared

ImageThis Wednesday, August 21st, the third edition of my Screams and Whispers Showcase takes the stage at Joe Squared in Baltimore. The August show features Sahffi and Heather Aubrey Lloyd and the theme for the evening is 60s soul music. If you are in the area, stop by for the show. It is going to be a great one!

This showcase is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve been part of lots of showcases hosted by others, and I always thought that it would be interesting to challenge musicians by asking them to play a few tunes that weren’t too familiar. This “stretch” makes for an interesting juxtaposition with the extended set of their own music they perform later in the show. It’s fun to see which songs are chosen by each artist. So, I create a theme for each show. The first show had the musicians playing Springsteen songs, and the second show, songs by Elvis Costello. Each time the featured musicians commented that learning the songs was a challenge as was deciding which ones to actually play. Interestingly, there has been no overlap of song choice so far. This  focus on the theme as a way to begin the evening is a way to make each show unique beyond the songwriters chosen to perform.

There are quite a few talented performing songwriters in Baltimore. I don’t think that the public really appreciates the talent that we harbor within the Baltimore/Washington/Frederick area. Baltimore in particular, can be a challenging market for songwriter shows. But being able to feature the likes of Tony Denikos, Ken Gutberlet, Rob Hinkal, Tom McBride, is an opportunity I’m not willing to miss. I like the challenge of making these shows successful. And on a personal level, sharing shows with these artists is a treat for me. I’ve been a performing songwriter for a few decades, and I’ve never had this much fun.

As a performing songwriter, I never get tired of sharing my songs with listeners and trying to earn new fans. I am sure that they songwriters that populate the Screams and Whispers Showcases would tell you the same thing. In the current age of faceless communication (thank you social media), we need more ways of sharing our thoughts, hopes, fears, and observations in person…unfiltered and “straight from the heart.” These showcases give performing musicians a way to do this – and they give the listeners a way to do it as well, by talking to us and telling us what they like, what they don’t (gently please), and asking for us to create things we may not have considering creating. This makes us all better – and closer.

So – I hope to see many of you for the show this Wednesday, August 21st, 8:00 pm at Joe Squared, North Ave. in Baltimore. And for some immediate gratification, I’ve provided a link to one of my songs – a preview of what you’ll hear Wednesday.  Enjoy.


Brewer’s Alley Songwriters Showcase
September 21, 2011, 10:42 pm
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03 Leaving Lafayette
On Monday night I played a short set as part of the the Brewer’s Alley Songwriters Showcase. This wasn’t my first appearance there and it won’t be my last. The showcase is run by Rod Deacy, Todd Walker, and Ron Goad. If you are reading this post and you live in Maryland, I am sure you’ve heard of these guys. They seem to be everywhere, playing and promoting music, writing songs, and supporting musicians whenever possible.
If you’ve never stopped by Brewer’s Alley, and you enjoy listening to songwriters perform their work, then Monday nights are a happening you should not miss. This is a listening room with good food, craft beers, and a positive and friendly vibe. The shows begin at 7:30 with a piano set and usually includes 3 or 4 musical performers and the local poet laureate, John Holly.
I know that a Monday night is not usually a night out for people, but you may want to make an exception for this. Who knows…I may be playing that night.
Check out Brewer’s Alley on Monday nights – and enjoy the song I’ve posted above. It is from my newest CD, Whispering Low. The song, Leaving Lafayette, features incredible fiddle playing from Bob Spates of Silver Spring, MD. If you like it, it’s available on iTunes and CD Baby

Live Show March 6th At The Senator Theater in Baltimore

I will be appearing live at the historic Senator Theater in Baltimore on Saturday March 6th back by the Wildcards, a wonderful trio of musicians including Kurt Hammond on guitar, Edward Graham on bass, and Doug Workman in drums. Also appearing that evening will be T. Edwin Doss and Steve Hung. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. They can be purchased online by clicking here

The Senator is a beautiful venue and provides a concert setting for this evening of country/Americana music. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the music begins at 8:30 p.m. For information and directions to the Senator Theater visit their website

Check Out These Live Versions
September 7, 2009, 11:13 pm
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Craig Live at the Hon Bar

Craig Live at the Hon Bar

I’ve spent some time remixing some live recordings that I made this summer. I’ve posted 2 of these songs on my myspace page and they will be up shortly on my Craig Cummings Music website. Both songs are solo performances of songs that I’ve written in the past year. Barcelona is a song about needing to be in a different place. Late Night Highway Blues tells the story of love that doesn’t work out – and the regret that comes with knowing there’s no turning back. I am uploading the files below so that you can listen here as well. I hope you enjoy the music.

Marty Stuart
September 7, 2009, 7:49 pm
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Last night I had a front row table at the Ram’s Head Live in Annapolis, Maryland for the evening show of Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. It was an all acoustic show that featured Marty’s mandolin wizardry, the guitar prowess of “Cousin” Kenny Vaughn, and otherworldly vocals from the whole band. Marty’s set reflected his experiences playing country, bluegrass, gospel, and honkey tonk music. My personal favorite of the night was a version of Tempted from the album of the same name. Also notable was the set closer – Badlands.

If Marty and his band come to your town, don’t miss them. This was country music at its best – sometimes winsome, sometimes funny, always uplifting, and without the hokey lyrics and formulaic approach often found in contemporary country music. Marty represents all that is good about American music.

House Concerts
May 12, 2009, 3:44 pm
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In a recent post, Richard replied to my tongue in cheek comments on artistfunding by noting that house concerts can be a good opportunity for musicians to raise money through live shows – often more than they can make playing clubs and bars and accepting the paltry wages musicians are forced to accept these days. I attended a house concert a few weeks back. It was my first time and I thought it was great – for the musicians and the listeners. The attendees were completely interested in listening and watching the musicians, and the musicians were able to interact with the listeners in a way seldom possible in public live performances. I am thinking about investigating the house concert circuit as a way of getting my music out to more listeners. I am wondering if any of you who read this blog have attended or participated in house concerts. Did you like these venues? Are there any you would personally recommend? I look forward to your thoughts and responses.