Above all else Tas Cru is a songwriter. “He is a real writer,” says Bruce Iglauer – owner/producer of the renowned Alligator Records. High praise comes from Downbeat magazine, describing Cru as one of the most unique of roots musicians plying his trade today; and with fresh melodies and his trademark well-crafted lyrics, Cru has the ability to cast a magical hook. According to Tas, himself, “I insist that the words serve more than to treat the listener like a hitch-hiker desperate to reach the guitar solo!”
Surely Cru ‘s stock-in-trade is undeniably the blues, but his songs show that he is truly a roots eclectic who refuses to let his music be bound to any one genre. This seasoned songwriter-singer-guitarist has a repertoire of well over 100 original songs from multiple albums. With five albums in the last seven years, Cru released Riffin' The Blue this past February 2023 In addition to his tried-and-true studio stalwarts, Tas enlists solid help from a few others, most notably Mike Zito (courtesy of Gulf Coast Records) and world-class keyboardist, Bruce Katz. Riffin’ continues to enjoy wide international airplay. Praise for the album includes: A gem of an album that drives right to the heart of the blues” (Living Blues), “A real winner here, this is blues done up right” (Blues Blast Magazine). Cru was honored with his first Blues Foundation Blues Music Award nomination in 2018 for, Simmered & Stewed. That album and the two that followed (Memphis Song & Drive On) were all recipients of the Syracuse Area Music Awards for best blues recordings (adjudicated awards in Cru’s home region affectionately known as the SAMMY’s). His 2021 album, Broke Down Busted Up was nominated by Blues Blast Magazine (Best Acoustic Blues Album) and the Independent Blues Awards (Modern Roots Album, Modern Roots Artist and Content Creator Award).
Tas Cru is based out of Central New York and performs in multiple formats ranging from a six-piece backing band to solo acoustic. 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. 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 older brother and sisters, he did not pursue music in school. A brief attempt to play the trombone abruptly ended after being kicked by his middle school music teacher, whose name actually was A (Arden) 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 Sun sound and Chess legends like Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters. 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. Delray Streeter was rural Arkansas-raised and a performer with boundless bravado and attitude albeit with limited singing and harmonica skills. That partnership, though short-lived proved to be very influential as Streeter’s repertoire leaned toward older, rough-hewn blues.
Today Tas tours extensively throughout the US and international touring includes Europe and Canada. He has performed and recorded with numerous blues luminaries and has recorded with several contemporaries including the aforementioned Mike Zito and Bruce Katz, also Victor Wainwright, Anne Harris and Anthony Geraci. Tas is a Delaney Guitars (Austin TX) endorsed artist and is signed to Subcat Records, Syracuse NY. Cru is also a recipient of the Blues Foundation (Memphis TN) Keeping the Blues Alive Award in recognition of his blues education programs that he presents while touring. Tas Cru is represented by Anne Bello Productions and in Europe by Martin Scheschonka (Electric Blues Bash).