"Blues as art should bring people together from across cultures. I believe it has largely been successful. Just look at how far Blues has travelled the globe. Also, look at all the people who play Blues other than the those who originated it (African-Americans). I just hope that young people will continue to connect with the very foundations and traditions of the music and make Blues music that is meaningful to them and their peers."
Tas Cru: Eclectic Roots Storyteller
Tas Cru is truly a blues eclectic who refuses to let his music be bound to just one blues style. With a repertoire of over 80 original songs from multiple albums and dozens of crowd-pleasing classics, this seasoned road warrior gives folks what they want be it festival, concert, listening room or the dance hall. Tas has been called one of the most unique of bluesmen plying his trade today. His songs testify to his reputation as a bluesman who is accomplished in, and comfortable with most every style of blues. As a writer Tas wants each song to determine what style is the better fit And that’s why fans love his stuff and critics sing his praises. A versatile repertoire, great vocal and guitar work, and his trademark well-crafted lyrics make Tas’ music an interesting and enjoyable listen. Live performances are captivating – highly entertaining!
(Tas Cru / Photo by Anne Bello)
Tas Cru is based out of Central New York and performs in multiple formats ranging from solo acoustic to a six-piece backing band. He sings and plays a wide variety of guitars - at home on either electric, acoustic, resonator or cigar box and is known to sprinkle in a bit of harmonica from time to time. Tas is a Delaney Guitars (Austin TX) endorsed artist and is signed to Subcat Records, Syracuse NY. With four hot albums in the last six years – You Keep the Money, Simmered & Stewed, Memphis Song, and Drive On – Cru is now hard at work readying another for 2021 – a double “quasi – acoustic” album Broke Down – Busted Up. Cru was honored with his first Blues Music Award nomination in 2018 with Simmered & Stewed. That album and the two that followed were all recipients of the Syracuse Area Music Awards (the SAMMY’s) for best blues recordings.
How has the Blues music and culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?
Over the years of playing this music I continue to appreciate how blues is the genesis of all other genres of music that place value on improvisation - rock and roll, jazz, hip hop, etc. In doing so, it has inspired musicians from various cultures to find common ground, both musically and culturally. Musicians whose cultural backgrounds steer them towards a particular genre, soon discover the commonality of the blues, and with that begin to understand that there are aspects other than music that different cultures share.
How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?
I consider myself to be an eclectic musicians. One who is confident that I can write and perform songs in a variety of roots music styles – traditional acoustic blues, blues-rock, soul -blues, jazz-blues and Americana. My sound starts with the song I am trying to write. The songs dictates the style that the song will be played. On my new album, Broke Down Busted Up, I recorded twenty-one songs, but chose only those (eleven) that worked together – ones that had a relaxed rootsy vibe. For my next album, I plan to go completely opposite and put out a hard-driving blues-rock album.
"I also believe that the blues world, enthusiastic to encourage the next generation of blues players, overlooks players whose life experience bring authenticity to the music they write and perform. That is the foundation of blues songs, something from the past that is getting lost." (Photo: Tas Cru)
Do you have anymore interesting stories about the making of the new album BROKE DOWN BUSTED UP?
At one point I had so many songs recorded for it I considered releasing a double album. While that was a fun idea, it just wasn’t a good idea. All those songs just didn’t fit together artistically. I know in this day and age, fewer and fewer people buy and listen to whole albums, but I still think that way.
Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
I have been blessed to meet so many great people, this is a difficult question. I spent some time in Louisiana at one point and had the chance to play with the legendary blues pianist, Henry Gray. I guess I was a little too eager to show my stuff and one of the other players said to me between songs, “The people came to see one man on this stage tonight and you ain’t him.” From that I will never forget to show respect for those who have come before me.
Are there any exclusively specific memorable moments with people that you’ve performed with either live or in the studio?
I have collaborated with several well-known contemporaries on my recent albums, but none has been more gracious as the talented Anne Harris (fiddle/violin). With Broke Down Busted Up I made a significant creative departure from anything I had recorded before and am so grateful that this artist, who is in such high demand, accompanied me on this journey.
What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of? (Tas Cru / Photo by Anne Bello)
I would like to see fans focusing more on well-written and well-crafted songs rather than songs whose lyrics tend to serve only as a way to get from one guitar solo to another. I also believe that the blues world, enthusiastic to encourage the next generation of blues players, overlooks players whose life experience bring authenticity to the music they write and perform. That is the foundation of blues songs, something from the past that is getting lost.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?
“Practice until it is boring, then practice until it is beautiful.”
What is the impact of Blues on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?
Blues as art should bring people together from across cultures. I believe it has largely been successful. Just look at how far Blues has travelled the globe. Also, look at all the people who play Blues other than the those who originated it (African-Americans). I just hope that young people will continue to connect with the very foundations and traditions of the music and make Blues music that is meaningful to them and their peers.
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