Press/Reviews

The Livingston Enterprise

Singer-songwriter just wants to make people happy

Jacob Cummings is only 23, but he’s already nearly been arrested just for playing his music. Cummings took himself on a tour, playing the usual coffee shops and bars, and selling copies of his first CD, a five-track EP called “Hopeless Love Songs.” Cummings who will be at the Murray Bar Wednesday night, said in a phone interview Tuesday he got the idea to try singing at sorority houses on and near college campuses. After all, he had been in a fraternity briefly when he was getting his degree in broadcasting at the University of Idaho in Moscow. “If women in sororities love it when 50 tone-deaf frat boys serenade them, I figured they’d appreciate me,” Cummings laughed. Most of them did. He was applauded and occasionally fed. And only one- at the University of Puget Sound- called the cops on him. But he takes it all in stride, recalling the event with a good-humored laugh. “I was driving around having fun” he said. Cummings whose musical style has been compared to Dave Matthews and John Mayer, calls his style of music “blues, pop, soul.” He like the old Motown sound, like The Temptations and Smokey Robinson. And currently on his iPod, he’s listening to the Miles Davis classic, “Kind of Blue,” Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In the Key of Life” an “everything” by John Mayer. Cummings said he wasn’t aware Mayer had a house in the area. Mayer has been known to drop in on groups with local gigs. “I’ll keep my fingers crossed” he laughed. Cummings writes his own songs and accompanies himself on the guitar. He said he gets inspiration for his songs from everyday events in his life, including his love life. “I write about the blissfulness of love,” he said “And a lot about girls.” When he is not performing or on the road Cummings has a flexible day job. He can show up and work at an auction company, where he works as a laborer, moving items. “I’m the young back,” he jokes. Cummings, like many musicians, started playing guitar when he was a kid. He started getting serious about it in college, writing a few songs, getting a few gigs. He liked performing in front of audiences. “I can’t shake the feeling you get when you make people happy,” he said. And that’s why you should come see his show, he said. “Come spend a date night and we’ll have some fun,” Cummings laughed. He’ll be at the Murray Bar on Wednesday, April 9. His show starts at 8 p.m. Listen to tracks on his website, www.jacobcummingsmusic.com.

SanTan Sun

BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI
Seattle singer Jacob Cummings is
scheduled to perform at SanTan Brewing
Company on Sept. 12, and he’s trusting the
word of a shady salesman in Oregon that
it’s a great place to play.
“I was at a gas station talking to some
random person trying to sell me some
miracle wash for a car,” recalls the 23-yearold
University of Idaho alumnus.
“He said, ‘Oh, you’re touring? Where
are you going?’ I told him, ‘Chandler.’
When I told him where I was playing, he
was so excited. He said it was his favorite
place in Chandler. Score. I’m taking the
word of a guy selling me magical spray for
my car.”
Cummings is on his first U.S. tour, which
also includes a Phoenix stop on Sept. 13.
Performing solo acoustic, Cummings will
showcase his debut EP, “Hopeless Love
Songs,” as well as select covers.
“Expect to have a good time,” he
says about his shows. “I want people—if
they’ve had a good day or a bad day prior
to it—to be in the moment and have a
good time with me.
“I want it to be date night. I just want
to hang out and play some music and
hopefully they’ll enjoy the tunes. I play
a wide variety of music from old Bill
Withers, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ to Al Green
to Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ on acoustic
guitar and Nelly’s ‘Ride Wit Me.’ I don’t
want to be pigeonholed.”
Those various artists are represented in
his list of influences as well. One person
he really looks up to is John Mayer.
“I really love his music,” Cummings
says. “I found him a little late—in college.
I thought, ‘This is amazing stuff.’ Someone
gave me the ‘Continuum’ album. I just
dove right into the music. I try to take a
little of what he does and put it into my
music.”
Motown played a big part in the
formative years of his music career. But,
again, not one to be stereotyped, he pulls
an unusual infl uence out of his pocket.
“I remember when I was a kid, my fi rst
album I ever recall listening to was ‘AC/
DC Live,’” he says with a laugh. “My dad
said, ‘Here. Check this out.’ We were in his
offi ce with the loud Bose speakers and he
cranked it up to 11. I was enthralled ever
since then.
“I can remember hearing
‘Thunderstruck’ and Angus Young just
started playing that riff. I thought, ‘Oh
wow. That’s so cool. What’s that sound?’
Whenever I have a couple drinks in me, I
try to imitate Angus Young skipping with
the guitar. It turns out horrible. I’m not
very graceful.”
The tour, Cummings says, is serving as a
springboard to further his career.
“Right now I’m trying to get the name
out there,” he says. “I don’t mind starving
and sleeping in my van. If I bring other
people, I feel obligated to feed them and
not sleep in a van.”
Jacob Cummings performs at 10
p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at SanTan Brewing
Company, 8 S. San Marcos Pl., Chandler.
Admission is free. For more information,
call (480) 917-8700. He is also set to take
the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at
Fiddler’s Dream, 1702 E. Glendale Ave.,
Phoenix. Cover charge is $8. Call (602) 997-
9795 for more information.
Christina Fuoco-Karasinski is the
executive editor of the SanTan Sun
News. She can be reached at christina@
santansun.com.

BoZone

Catch the infectious vibes of Jacob Cummings

On Friday, April 17th, catch the infectiously positive vibes of Jacob Cummings at Wild Joe*s. Jacob is a musician out of Washington whose work falls under the blues/pop genre with the easy listening feel. Show will start at 7 pm and cover will be $5. Wanting to learn more about Jacob and his music, RollingZone got in touch.

RZ: Hi Jacob, thanks for speaking with the RollingZone today. How have you been?

JC: I’ve been good! I’ve been touring around--I’m actually in Arizona right now, so it’s sunny and warm and I’m totally fine with that. (laughs)

RZ: Aww, I’m jealous! And for those who are unfamiliar with you can you tell us a little about yourself?

JC: I’m from a town outside of Seattle, Washington. It’s about thirty miles north. I went to the University of Idaho for college and that’s where I started to pick up music more professionally, and it was probably about junior year of college when that started to kick up more... Once that started to happen I thought, ‘Hey, you know, I really enjoy this... I’d like to do it more as a profession.’ So what does any crazy person do? They go and find the most expensive recording studio in Seattle and say, ‘I’m going to go record there!’ I saved up all of my pennies and got three days in the Robert Lang Studio in Seattle and I recorded two songs there... Which is a crazy surprise--when you don’t record anything, they don’t give you your money back... (chuckles) So, there was a pressure and I worked my butt off and got the two songs done and headed off to [another] studio and finished up the EP and I’ve just been touring around... Last year I went from Washington to Florida and back.

RZ: So you’ve been all over the place--what can you tell us about the music scene in Washington as compared to the other states you have visited?

JC: It’s very tough to break into the Washington music scene because it’s so flooded. There’s a lot of musicians out there. I enjoy it as my home, but I’m touring all over the place so I don’t really stay around the Seattle, Washington music scene too much. It’s fun--I’ve been able to meet a lot of really great musicians, but I really love going out on the road. I love Montana--that has to be one of my favorite states... It’s just so darned beautiful, and the people there are just so darned nice. I don’t know what’s in the water but it’s so much fun there.

RZ: Have you ever performed at Wild Joe*s or in the Bozeman area before?

JC: Yes, I played at Wild Joe*s last year. I really enjoyed it--I had one of the coolest times there. I was playing on the stage and this guy came off the street and he had a large pizza. He came in while I was playing a song and he goes, ‘I really like your music!’ and stuff like that. He started looking at my CDs and said, ‘Are you totally going to trade me a large pizza for one of your CDs right now, cuz’ if so, that’d be the coolest in the world.’ He threw a couple bucks in the tip jar and picked up a CD. He wanted to shake my hand but I was in the middle of playing a song... [Finally] I had a spot in the song where I could break, so I hit the chord--fist bump--and then go back to playing, and the guy was like, ‘Yeaaaaahhh!!’ and it was totally awesome.

RZ: (laughs) That is awesome! And which demographic would you say is most receptive of your music?

JC: 18 to 25 year old women is kind of what I would say I consider my demographic as... On my first tour that I did I was in a college fraternity at U of I and thought, ‘Hey, you know, I remember our whole house would get together and we’d have fifty tone-deaf frat dudes and we’d all go sing to these sororities.’ And I said, ‘If we could sound so bad then maybe there’s an opportunity here.’ So once I graduated college I jumped in my van and went from Washington to Colorado and back and I played ninety sororities in thirty days--

RZ: Wow!

JC: --Yeah... (laughs) They enjoyed it, they had a great time. I’d take a picture with all of the houses--to make myself look cooler, (laughs) cuz’ that really was the main objective--but it was fun, and they really enjoyed the music. I said, ‘You know, maybe that’s my audience right there,’ and I’ve just been pursuing that and going from there.

RZ: Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun touring... Any adventure stories that you would care to share?

JC: (laughs) Great question. One time I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma and I was staying with this couple. They were the sweetest people and they were [in their sixties] and how I knew them was my sister had a friend who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone and that was their parents. The guy--his name was Bud--he was so excited because he played music when he was younger. He went on the Bob Hope tour or something like that and he played music all over the place. He got so excited that he chauffeured me around the entire town introducing me to all of his friends and I was his best friend right then... It was amazing how nice and open people are. They let you come into their house and they treat you so nicely... I love Seattle, but a lot of people get lost in their headphones or their cellphones and they lose track of what really is important--y’know, communication amongst people--in everyday living. I was kinda’ve getting down about that and once I went on the road and met all of these amazing people who don’t even know me and they’re like, come play for us, have some food, and all this stuff... I met some of the most incredible people and got stories... I played a sorority in Kansas state and I made a little post on Facebook and said, ‘Hey, I need a place to stay in Nebraska,’ and within five minutes there was this girl from one of the houses. She was like, ‘Hey, Jacob, my aunt lives here, so get ahold of her.’ They gave me a place to stay and they were so sweet. They gave me my own little room and put soda and beef jerky up there for me... It’s the kindness of people’s hearts that is the most incredible thing and I love it.

RZ: What sparked your passion for music?

JC: When I was younger I played guitar... My uncle played a lot of music and I thought that was really neat, but I didn’t really pick it back up until college. Freshman year I would kind of tinker around and play some songs... I knew I wasn’t funny but I wanted to be cool with the opposite sex, so I thought I should learn music. I picked it back up and I kept playing. Junior year I started writing more and it was a nice release. The first couple of songs were horrendous... Gosh, they were so bad... But I really enjoyed writing. It let me get all of this stuff I wanted off my chest and it really let me express myself. I see all of these other people make a living at music and so I thought that would be really amazing to start playing and writing some tunes... It just all the sudden found its way into what I love to do as a daily job and what I would like to continue doing in the future.

RZ: As a young musician, what advice would you give to other young people who would like to pursue their passion full-time, like you have?

JC: Don’t give up. You really have to be persistent. One of the best traits you can have as a musician is to keep fighting. You gotta remember that you love this. It’s going to suck at times... I definitely have my fair share of nights sleeping in a van in a Walmart parking lot. You do that because you really enjoy the music. The first couple of shows are going to suck--you’re going to have no one there and you’re going to be like, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But then you get the response from the audience--they come up after the show and say they really enjoyed it... I get to be a release for them for two or three hours or however long the set is. They get to forget about their day--good, bad, indifferent, whatever--and get to enjoy that moment with me, and that’s a really neat feeling to change someone’s day like that. So for other young musicians--just keep fighting. It’s gonna be tough but it’ll get better.

RZ: Anything else you would like to add about yourself, your music, or your upcoming shows?

JC: I hope to see some people out at the shows... C’mon out, have a good time. I’m going to enjoy myself and hopefully everyone catches the energy and has a fantastic time as well. That’s what keeps me playing music--I can’t thank the fans enough.

RZ: Thank you for speaking with the RollingZone today, Jacob. Good luck on your tour and we look forward to your upcoming show at Wild Joe*s!

Don’t miss out on your chance to see Jacob Cummings live on Friday, April 17th at 7 pm. Cover is $5. Wild Joe*s is located at 18 West Main Street in Downtown Bozeman. To learn more about the event, call (406) 586-1212 or visit wildjoescoffee.com. To learn more about Jacob, visit www.jacobcummingsmusic.com. •

http://www.bozone.com/index.php/features/show_article/62112
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