The Guess Who's Burton Cummings First New Album in 20 Years Coming Next Week
Above The Ground (UMe), May 25, 2010, marks 20 years since his last such album was released in the U.S. Included in the package is a 60-minute DVD featuring colorful, behind-the-scenes footage about the making of the album, with a very enthusiastic and witty Cummings discussing the creation of the songs, recording them and even goofing off with the musicians, plus there's even a "blooper" segment.
Canadian rock royalty, Cummings had enjoyed seven previous solo studio albums from 1976 to 1990. North of the border, four of them went double platinum or better, and two others gold, including 1990's Plus Signs.
That album boasted two of his six Top 10 Canadian Adult Contemporary hits in a solo career that has seen 16 Top 40 AC hits -- two #1s among them. The 1994 retrospective The Burton Cummings Collection was subsequently a best-seller. Cummings then toured with a reformed version of The Guess Who from 2000 to 2003, and since 2005 has occasionally performed and recorded with Randy Bachman, co-founder of the original group (and later of Bachman-Turner Overdrive), as the Bachman-Cummings Band, which released a pair of albums and toured with Bon Jovi.
Joining him on Above The Ground is his Toronto-based touring band, The Carpet Frogs. Recorded in 2008 primarily at the Southern California studio of co-producer Joe Vannelli (Gino's brother) and initially released only in Canada, the album ranges from the rockers "We Just Came From The U.S.A.," "Ponderlust" and the karma-balancing "Crazy If You Mess With The Gods" to the mellow "Any Minor Miracle" and "Kurt's Song." Spanning lyrics about faith ("Revelation," "Invisible," "Dream"), socio-political views ("Look Out Charlie," "Pretty Pictures," "Up In The Canyon"), friends now gone ("Kurt's Song"), parenthood ("Junior Won't Behave") and aging ("Above The Ground"), the album's 19 songs were written by Cummings over the past four decades.
Cummings joined The Guess Who in 1965 and the band became one of the most popular of the time with such hits as the #1 "American Woman" (becoming the first Canadian band with a U.S. chart-topper) and Top 10s "No Time," "These Eyes," "Clap For The Wolfman," "Laughing" and "Share The Land." After the group split in 1975, Cummings reached the U.S. Top 10 with "Stand Tall." His 1978 Dream Of A Child album was reportedly the biggest-selling Canadian album in history at that time. A rock hero around the world, Cummings is revered in his homeland: In 2009 he was named to the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor, given to those with a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation.