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 notes, “His songs are blues poetry – crafted with rare verbal flair and his ability to cast a memorable hook is magical!” Bruce Iglauer, founder and president of Alligator Records calls Cru “a rare, real writer.” 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!”
His brand new album, :Simmered and Stewed” released November 11, 2016 on VizzTone Records – eleven songs flavored in most part by resonator, cigar box and acoustic guitar. The album features harmonica, honky-tonk piano, Hammond B3 organ ans rich, backing vocals. The new album is a worthy follow up to his 2015 album, “You Keep the Money.” – the hottest debuting blues album of the year, almost all year long residing at or near the very top of every major blues chart. It actually debuted at # 1 on the Roots Music Report and 8 of its 12 songs have been in the top 25 and debuted on the prestigious Living Blues chart at #2.
Based out of upstate New York. Cru performs in a variety of formats ranging from solo acoustic to a 7 piece-backing band. Tas Cru appears at a number of festivals and major blues venues throughout the US and Canada. His music is heard regularly on blues radio worldwide, including Sirius/XM’s BB King’s Bluesville,where he was recently featured as one of four artists selected for its Fall 2016 Concert series. As well, Cru brings his award-winning Blues Education programs and workshops to numerous schools, hospitals and community centers.
In 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 guitar players of his time. These combined influences are heard in his music – 50+ original songs on six albums- “Biscuit” (2006), “gravi-Tas “(2008), “Grizzle n’ Bone” (2009), “Jus’ Desserts” (2010), “Tired of Bluesmen Cryin'” (2012), and his 2015 album, “You Keep the Money.”
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. Cru says he deserved it. Cru instead 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. Cru’s 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, a bluesman of unlimited bravado and attitude but limited singing and harmonica skills. Streeter was raised in El Dorado, Arkansas and claimed a rich blues heritage from his upbringing. This partnership, though shot-lived, proved to be very influential as Streeter’s repertoire tended toward the older and much rawer country blues. Cru’s schooling in country blues later served him well and is infused into his original songs along with his Sun Records and rock-blues influences.
As noted above, Tas Cru’s discography includes seven albums of original songs – “Biscuit” (2006), “gravi-Tas “(2008), “Grizzle n’ Bone” (2009), “Jus’ Desserts” (2010), “Tired of Bluesmen Cryin” (2012) “You Keep the Money” (2015) and his brand new Simmered & Stewed. In addition to these recordings is Cru’s 2009 release, “Even Bugs Sing the Blues,’ an album of original blues music for kids and in 2016 he released a blues qalbum for dog lovers called Doggone Blues.
Honors and recognition include Cru being awarded the 2014 Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award (KBA) for Blues Education and in 2009 named by Blues Festival Guide Magazine as its 2009 Blues Artist on the Rise. In January 2015, the Rum Boogie Café awarded Cru a guitar to autograph and hangs among the gallery of artist signed guitars.