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by Mitchell Peters

August 1995 - ???????

Over the last decade, Stephen Cummings has been responsible for making a handful of remarkable records. Last year's Falling Swinger saw him team up with Church frontman Steve Kilbey. With the album, Cummings' work went off on another tangent that, courtesy of increased Triple J support, and brought him a newer/younger market.

Falling Swinger is only one chapter in the Melbourne songsmith's oeuvre. Previous work discs such as Lovetown, A New Kind Of Blue, Unguided Tour and Good Humour all evoke moods that range from subtle funk grooves to acoustic based psycho drama.

Cummings doesn't keeps a relentless touring schedule. When he comes to town, the shows are a rare event.

"They're kind of acoustic based," explains Cummings of his gigs. "I've hardly been playing at all. I'm doing this just so I can come to Brisbane at least once for the year. I'll be joined by a young guitarist, Danny Luscombe, from The Black Eyed Susans. He played electric guitar on their last record. He's only like nineteen, and he's really good."

For the show, Cummings will be digging deep into his formidable repertoire.

"We do a mixture of everything I've done. I talk about the songs a bit, and we play some new songs too. I lecture on life, etcetera, etcetera."

Given the success of Falling Swinger, which featured the wonderful single September 13, Cummings plans to start recording again with Kilbey in October.

"We'll also be using Robert Goodge, who did the Underground Lovers record, on this one. It won't be dance, but with Robert involved, it'll be more like a psychedelic Massive Attack thing."

Cummings has always admitted to having broad eclectic tastes when it comes to listening to music, maybe that's why he does what he does so well. As a songwriter, Cummings is easily one of the most consistent in the country. He constantly works at the craft, refining ideas and creating fresh material.

"I think it comes and goes," he say's of his art. "I like to work with different people and to try different things, so I don't get in a rut. That can inspire me. I kind of do it and don't think about it too much now. I'm always writing songs, or half songs."

Another Cummings' project due for release, features a host of voices adding their unique flavour to his material.

"I've sort of got a splinter group now. We've recorded an album called Four Hours Sleep. It's going to be released on White Records in October. I kind of wrote all the songs. It was put together by Bill McDonald who plays bass with me. Angie Hart sings three songs. David McCoombe sings the first single. Edwyn Collins does two, and I do two."

"It sounds really good. All the songs were specifically written for the project. The McCoombe song sounds fantastic. There's a duet with me and Angie that sounds really good."

During the quieter months, Cummings found time to write his first novel, which will be out in February.

"It's all done. The publisher likes it, and I'm starting work on another one. My aim is to split my time between making records and writing books.

"The writing is good because you have to do it all yourself. I've got all the control then. It's something I've always wanted to do, and I think I'm quite good at it."

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