Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Tas Cru, who discusses his new album, “Memphis Song” and more.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Tas Cru: Family influences mostly. My uncle introduced me to the blues, as he was a huge fan of Howlin Wolf. My older sisters were bopping to the beat of the Beatles and Stones with their friends. I figured out at the tender age of 10 that girls liked guys who played guitar.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Tas Cru: My song ideas come from three different directions: 1) Sometimes I have a concept in mind that I want to write about. The song on my new album Track 4 is a good example of that. I wanted to write about the need for people in the US to figure out how to work and live together. We are torn in two and it makes me very concerned. 2) Sometimes it’s a lyric that comes from something I hear someone say. I like colorful and descriptive language. If it’s a rather odd way of saying something I like that even more. Track 7 “That Look” was written around the phrase I overheard a guy use to describe how a particularly attractive person got his attention. He remarked, “If looks could kill, I’m on death row. She got that look and it’s working on me!” Way #3 is a song written that is inspired by a melodic hook as in the guitar line in “Fool for the Blues” or the melody vocal line in “Feel So Good” (I feel so good when I play the blues for you).
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Tas Cru: As an artist, in general, I am inspired by the need to create art that takes people to a different space and time. Allows them to step away from their troubles and get lost in a musical moment (moment meaning briefly or extended).
Review Fix: What makes “Memphis Song” a special album?
Tas Cru: First of all it is well played and recorded. The songs have a fresh and organic feel to them and serve to expand the blues genre rather than just restate tradition. The concept of the title track as described in the cd notes is genuine.
Review Fix: Why does the Blues still matter?
Tas Cru: Blues is the heart of all improvisational music genres that thrive today (Jazz, Country, Rock, Hip Hop). To understand who we are means knowing where we come from. That applies to musicianship as much as anything else.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Tas Cru: The foundation of my sound is energy and genuine passion. This drives the way I play, sing and write. I do not consider myself or my players as people who play guitars/basses/ drums whatever – we are people who play the song – what it calls for and nothing more. My songs are built from a palette to mix and create layers of instruments and voices flowing together rather than being bolted together on a workbench to build a platform for launching instrumental pyrotechnics and vocal histrionics.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Tas Cru: Not much different other than stretching out the arrangements a bit to allow for a bit of band jamming and audience interaction. Live shows have the same rich dynamics and ebb and flow. We also include a few covers for fun – or as I like to say “ I play two kinds of songs – those I wrote and those I wish I wrote.” I am a big fan of Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and Jimmy Reed and cover some of their work sometimes.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2018?
Tas Cru: Besides bringing the Memphis Song album to live audiences, my #1 goal, also I plan on doing more producing for other artists at the studio I record (Subcat in Syracuse, NY). Am going to diligently pursue my bucket list – European Festivals, song placement in films and TV and getting on the bill for a Blues Cruise.