Craig Cummings Music

A Review of the 9 Songwriter Series at the Golden Bull


Last night, Justin Trawick brought his 9 Songwriter Series to the Golden Bull Grand Cafe in Gaithersburg, MD. Nine local songwriters played to a packed house and the vibe for the evening was one of musical collaboration and unexpected surprise. Throughout the evening, the featured songwriters joined each other in spontaneous collaborations that made great songs even better. Craig Cummings was joined by Michelle Murray and Greg Marsh for his signature “Whispering Low.” Michelle Murray featured her memorable “Wandering Heart” with background vocals from Caroline Ferrante and Michell Lockey, while Greg Dillon provided guitar support. Justin Trawick, the host of the show, often joined the other featured songwriters on cajon when he wasn’t bringing his own song stories to the audience. Tom Blood brought his own heartfelt tribute to recently deceased singer-songwriter John Harbison. This was an evening to celebrate the talents of a tight knit group of performing songwriters who have made the Washington DC suburbs proud.

The success of this show leads one to believe that there is more to follow.The 9 Songwriter Series shows up in cities through the U.S. Recent stops have included Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Brooklyn, NY. Additional cities are sure to be included in the near future. The wonderful thing about this series is that it is all about the songwriters – and for this night, the local group showed that the Washington area needn’t take a backseat to music scenes in other cities throughout the U.S.


Report From Singer Songwriter Conference in Cape May, NJ

I just returned from Cape May, NJ where I attended the annual Singer Songwriter Conference. This 2-day event was terrific. The highlight of the weekend was the 150 live performances spread out over numerous venues through the town. I appeared on Friday night at the C-View Inn, a local hangout that was standing room only for my performance. I played a set that combined cuts from my two CDs with several new songs that have yet to be recorded. The crowd could not have been more welcoming, and even though it was loud in there, people really were paying attention to the music. Their comments to me after the show let me know they were listening to what I was saying through my songs.

The conference also featured sessions focused on the business side of music. I attended several of these, and walked away with new information about publishing, getting synch and licensing opportunities, and one session in particular focused on the mistakes that musicians make…I’m sure we’ve all made plenty of them (I know I have), but this session really centered on encouraging musicians to have a better focus and a clearly defined vision of who they are and what they want to accomplish. It was good stuff.

I’m happy to say that the title song of my most recent CD, Whispering Low, was selected to appear on the compilation CD that was distributed to conference attendees and participants. I popped the CD into my car player on the way back to Baltimore and was struck by the diversity of the music represented. I am sure it must have been difficult to sequence the tracks, and there are a few uneven shifts from one song to the next. Nevertheless, for all of us who made it on to the disc, it is good PR and gets our music out to many who might never have heard us.

I also want to give a quick shout out to the presenters, many of who provided free mentoring sessions to participants. The two I attended were very helpful, and the guys could not have been any nicer or more generous with their time. I’ll be sure to get back there next year.

For your listening pleasure, here is the song Whispering Low, that was included on the compilation CD.

Peace and a Cold Beer!

Whispering Low

Brewer’s Alley Songwriters Showcase
September 21, 2011, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Musical Notes | Tags: , , , ,

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

Opening Night at Joe Squared Power Plant Live
September 3, 2011, 10:26 am
Filed under: Musical Notes | Tags: , , , , ,

I performed at the new Joe Squared location at Power Plant Live on their opening night. This place is going to be a bonanza for the Joes and a great place for pizza lovers and musicians. Their pizza is – well, it’s the best around. For musicians, there will be a good walk-through crowd, there is a nice bar for patrons to drink, eat, and listen, and once it is all put together properly, a great sound system. I love playing both Joe Squared venues. They treat their musicians well, and the venue draws a crowd that is always interested in the music, even if they are not the sit still and listen types. It is a bar…but a good one for any performer who likes to interact and be friendly with an energetic audience. See you there!

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

Baltimore Music Conference Redux – Parting Thoughts
October 18, 2009, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Musical Notes | Tags: , , , ,

The Baltimore Music Conference (BMC) ended last night. I performed at two different venues over the four day event and I attended the conference sessions at the Hippodrome Theatre during the day on Friday. The conference was a mixed bag. On the positive side, the Thursday night show at Ledbetters, hosted by the Baltimore Songwriters Association (BSA) was an unqualified success. The BSA turned out a very talented group of performers and the venue was crowded almost the entire night. As one of the performers, I appreciated the supportive response provided by the bar patrons. It is always nice to play to a full house of people interested in really listening to the music. The Friday conference sessions were also informative and helpful to musicians trying to achieve some degree of success in the business. I sat in on 3 different sessions and learned something in each one of them.

The conference was not without its problems. Surely, the 5 consecutive days of rain that hit Baltimore did not help the planning and execution of the conference go smoothly. The conference sessions were poorly attended. There were no more than 10 or 12 people in any of the three sessions I joined. It seems hard to believe that there were not more musicians in Baltimore interested in what the conference presenters had to offer. I’m not sure if the advertising was poor or if local musicians think they already know it all. Whatever the case, those who didn’t take the time to attend missed a great opportunity. I also noticed that a number of the presenters failed to show. This is just bad business on their parts and unfortunate for the conference promoters.

Most disappointing was the “gig” I “played” at the Sheraton Hotel on Saturday night. The Sheraton was the conference headquarters, but you would never know it by the absolute absence of anyone who seemed to be there for the conference, save the musicians that were booked to perform. We were relegated to a back ballroom far from any foot traffic. My slot was scheduled from 9-9:45. The PA wasn’t set up until 10:00 and I performed shortly thereafter to the handful of people who came to see me and the musicians from the bands that were booked into the later time slots. This is no way to plan and run a show. One of the bands came from Tallahassee to play – more than likely for no one. If there were so few attendees at 10:00 when I performed, I am fairly certain there weren’t many more to see their 12:00 show.

I think having a conference to celebrate the music scene in Baltimore is a terrific idea, and for the most part I was glad to be part of it. But it seemed like the promoters took on more than they were capable of handling. Smaller would have been better – easier to plan and manage. In the future, they should stick to using venues that have built in foot traffic and reputations for hosting quality music. In that way, musicians won’t have to waste their time playing for each other for free when they could be out playing gigs for real audiences and getting paid. And one last thought…October is probably not a good time to book outdoor venues in Baltimore. The weather is unpredictable, and as this conference proved, it is impossible to recover your momentum when you have many, many acts that must be rescheduled to indoor venues because the weather does not cooperate.

Baltimore Music Conference
October 13, 2009, 3:03 pm
Filed under: 1 | Tags: , , , , ,

The Baltimore Music Conference (BMC) comes to town beginning Wednesday October 14th. The BMC promises to be a very cool event featuring both local and national talent. Live music is scheduled for multiple venues during this 4-day event.

I’ll be appearing on Thursday and Saturday nights. On Thursday night, the Baltimore Songwriter’s Association takes over Ledbetters in Fells Point to showcase some of the best songwriters Baltimore can offer. My slot begins at 8:00 p.m., but music fans should plan to make a night of it. Other musicians performing include Teporah, Ken Gutberlet, Warren Cherry, Georgie Jessup, Marc Evans, and many others. You can’t find a better way to see many of the most talented songwriters in Baltimore gathered together in one spot. If you’ve never been to Ledbetters…it was recently voted Baltimore’s best dive bar. If you’ve never been there, put it on your bucket list.

On Saturday night, I’m appearing at the Sheraton City Center, 101. W. Fayette St. The Sheraton is the conference headquarters and this show closes the 4-day event. It is scheduled from 9 pm to 1 am. I open the show at 9:00. Others on the bill include Cameron Blake and the Mike Montrey Band.

Baltimore sometimes plays second fiddle to Washington, D.C. when the local music scenes draw comparisons. Both cities have very vibrant music scenes and this is a chance to see much of what Baltimore has to offer. Some events are free and there is a minimal cover charge for others. Some are indoor venues and some are outdoors. It should be a busy musical week in Charm City. Don’t miss the opportunity to see what the BMC has to offer. And please…check out my shows!

If You’re Coming to My Show on Sunday
May 15, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: 1 | Tags: , ,

This Sunday night, I’ll be appearing in historic Ellicott City at the Judge’s Bench. Show time is from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This is a fine time for a Sunday evening show. Those staying until the end can still manage to roll into bed by 11:00 p.m. and get a reasonable amount of sleep before the alarm sounds on another busy week.

On stage with me Sunday night will be guitarist Vince Vigliotti. Vince is a terrific player. He’s been involved in the Baltimore-Washington music scene for many years, perhaps most notably in Darryl Davis’ band. He currently does most of his performing with vocalist/guitarist Kathy Marr. They make a fine duo. Anyone living in this area should be sure to catch their act.

On Sunday we’ll be playing a number of songs from from my new CD, and we’ll be playing a few of my newest songs – songs that I’ve only performed solo if at all. We’ll also do a few things by Gram Parsons, George Jones, the Stones – things I just love to play. I hope you’ll be able to join us. Ellicott City is a really nice place and the Judge’s Bench is a great venue wih plenty of unusual beers. I hope to see you there.