Almost six months after graduating from the University of Idaho, Jacob Cummings is returning to Moscow with guitar in hand and a van full of CDs. The singer-songwriter has set aside his broadcasting degree and a full-time job to travel the nation, play his music and share his new album. Here, Cummings talks about his roadside plan and maps out his future in music.360: How does it feel to be able to return to Moscow and play to your college town?
JC: I really miss Moscow. It is such a cool place. I love the atmosphere. It’s a fun place where you can go and experiment. I’m looking forward to going back to the vibe, that place where you feel really welcome, where the arms are open. It’s a cozy place.
360: What’s your musical background?
JC: My parents really wanted me to learn an instrument, just a hobby when I was younger. They bought me a guitar. I learned a little bit, but it couldn’t make the cool sounds in the albums like Zeppelin, Hendrix. My uncle has been playing music his whole life, and he got me an electric guitar. I dabbled around in high school. In college, I thought maybe I’d do this more than a hobby.
360: How’d you start singing?
JC: In a sense, it felt like a necessity. A lot of people when they listen to guitar, they want to hear lyrics to go with it. I’m so nervous about my voice. It’s very personal when you’re singing. I was trying to find singers, and try to get this sound out of my head, and no one wanted to do what I wanted to do. I started doing it and went from there.
360: What is your biggest musical influence?
JC: I’d have to say John Mayer. I love his sound and the guitar playing. The lyrics are so deep. I found his music in college and loved it. I wanted to dig up every record he’s made. Or, kind of a Dave Matthews sound.
360: Where do you find inspiration to write your own songs?
JC: I usually find most of my inspiration just coming to day-to-day life, anywhere from relationships to what’s going on in the world. Most of my music is the relationship theme, the interaction. … It starts more with the guitar. I float around and play the guitar and find a catchy riff or a cool chord progression. I put it in the back pocket. … At the end of the day, that’s what I love the most, is guitar playing. … The singing’s cool, but I love being that kid that goes into his room and plays guitar for hours on end.
360: Tell me about your new EP “Hopeless Love Songs.”
JC: It has a wide sound to it. I have many sides to my music. You have fast songs. You have more bluesy songs. You have more love-felt songs, where it’s a little more soft. It’s a good first step to show people what I can be. Grand total, it took about seven months. I was doing it when I would come back from breaks at college.
360: What’s next?
JC: This is the start. I’m going to go to South Dakota and Nebraska. I’m going to go across campuses and play sororities, play open mics, start a base in these areas. Now’s the time to do the leg work, and sleep in the back of my van and play around and introduce myself and try and make a name for myself. … I’m really just trying to get out my music and hoping people enjoy it and I’d like them to know, if you like my music, share it. It’s not about the money, it’s about getting out this music, and I love going out performing for people. When someone comes up to me and says, ‘That song touched me, because of this situation,’ there’s no better feeling than that.
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @LindseyTreffry.
->if you go
WHAT: Jacob Cummings performs
WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: One World Cafe, 533 S. Main St., Moscow
COST: Free. Cummings’ five-track EP “Hopeless Love Songs” is $10.