Making a Scene talks with Indie Blues Artist TAS CRU!
Tas Cru has been nominated for 3 Independent Blues Awards – Best Contemporary Blues CD (Simmered and Stewed), Best Contemporary Blues Band and Best Contemporary Blues Song (Grizzle n Bone)
Raucous, rowdy, gentle, sweet, eccentric, quirky, and outright irreverent are all words that fittingly describe Tas Cru’s songs and testify to his reputation as a one of the most unique of bluesmen plying his trade today. It’s not for nothing that Cru has received wide praise for his songwriting. As Downbeat magazine noted, “His songs are blues poetry – crafted with rare verbal flair and his ability to cast a memorable hook is magical!” Live, these songs are performed with power and passion as observed by Living Blues magazine, “The vivacity and sheer joy with which Cru plays is intoxicating!”
Tas Cru is based out of upstate New York and performs in multiple formats ranging from solo acoustic to a 7 piece-backing band. He sings and plays a wide variety of guitars – at home on either electric, acoustic, resonator or cigar box. Tas is a Delaney Guitars (Austin TX) endorsed artist.
In his early bands, Tas was introduced to the great Sun Records sound and the country blues that later served as a counterpoint to the rock-blues he idolized as did so many young aspiring guitar players of his time. Cru grew up in a very musical and generally unquirky family (except for him). Unlike his talented brother and sisters, he did not pursue music in school. A brief attempt to play the trombone abruptly ended after being kicked by his 7th grade music teacher who’s name actually was A (alden) Sharpe! Tas says he deserved it. Instead Cru explored and developed his talent by taking up with a rougher crowd of older, self-taught musicians where he was introduced to the songs of the Sun Records legends. His first foray into the blues came after leaving the US Navy when he was asked to join a band formed by a former shipmate named Delray Streeter, an Arkansas-raised bluesman with boundless bravado and attitude but rather limited singing and even lesser harmonica skills. This partnership, though short-lived, proved to be very influential as Streeter’s repertoire tended toward the older, rough-hewn country blues. Cru’s schooling in country blues later served him well and is heard in his original songs along with the Sun Records and, of course his rock-blues influences.
His latest album, Memphis Song completes a trifecta of Tas Cru’s creativity that began with his breakthrough effort, You Keep the Money (2014) and followed by the 2018 Blues Music Award nominated – Simmered & Stewed. Set for release this coming June,Memphis Song showcases Cru’s talents as an acclaimed songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. This album’s title track features long time friend Victor Wainwright on piano along with Victor’s guitar player, Pat Harrington putting down some soulful slide work.
You Keep the Money grabbed the attention of blues radio worldwide, debuting on the prestigious Living Blues Radio Chart at #2 and, quite noteworthy, debuting #1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Radio Chart. Simmered & Stewed also enjoyed wide airplay including being featured as a BB King’s Bluesville “Pick to Click” on SiriusXM radio. Likewise it made its way on to the highly regarded Living Blues Chart and resided at or near the top of the Roots Music Report’s Blues Chart for most of 2017. And, as already mentioned, Simmered & Stewed was nominated for a 2018 Blues Music Award. On the strength of these two albums Tas has since performed at several major blues festivals and notable venues and now is poised to bring Memphis Song to these stages in 2018.
In addition to his best-known albums is Tas’ 2009 release, Even Bugs Sing the Blues, an album of original blues music for kids based on book characters from the works of acclaimed author-illustrator, Eric Carle. In 2016 he recorded a blues album for dog lovers called Doggone Blues. As a Blues Foundation, Keeping the Blues Alive award recipient, besides performing, Cru brings his award-winning Blues Education programs and workshops to festivals, schools, and hospitals everywhere he travels.
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