Tas Cru: Keeping the Blues Alive

March 21st, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg
Tas Cru and Jeremy Walz

Tas Cru and Jeremy Walz

Story and photographs by Wanda Callagy

After settling a little upon their return from Memphis, the members of Tas Cru & the Tortured Souls are off and running to various new projects, but one wonders if the Rum Boogie Café will ever be the same.

Guy Nirelli had traveled from the Buffalo area, and Dick Earl Erickson came from Utah, traveling the path down South with gigs and events for the Keeping the Blues Alive program that Tas Cru keeps going. They visited with Wichita Blues Society members, recorded at the Juke Joint Chapel at the Shack Up Inn and performed at a wide variety of venues from KOLR-TV in Missouri to the Drop Zone in Leslie Arkansas.

In Memphis, the band played three nights at the Rum Boogie Cafe – one night with the Memphis Blues Society, and they opened up the Blues Foundation’s week-long International Blues Challenge by holding an all-night jam with proceeds going to Generation Blues programs, which offers opportunity for music scholarships, camps and lessons.

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LIVE: Alexis P. Suter Band @ WAMC-FM’s The Linda, 3/7/14

March 18th, 2014, 3:07 pm by Greg
Alexis P. Suter

Alexis P. Suter

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

“The soundman said, ‘Can your voice go lower than mine?’” Alexis P. Suter told the totally rapt crowd at The Linda in Albany. Then she did something truly amazing: She lowered her voice! “I don’t know… Maybe?”

You have to understand: This Brooklyn-born blueswoman wields a bass/baritone that would send most opera singers scurrying into the nearest corner so they could cower better. You can’t compare Suter to contemporaries like Shemekia Copeland or Katie Webster, and even the late great Koko Taylor couldn’t match Suter’s lower range. The closest comparison would be to John Lee Hooker, another long-gone blues legend. But you pair up that range with the muscle-car power and unyielding control Suter puts behind her vocals, and the results are so unbelievably good, you just have to hold your head.

With her big top hat and all-black Moshood Creations outfit, Suter resembled an executioner as she slowly stepped onstage after her band’s opening instrumental number. The temptation to say she slayed us with her towering version of “Didn’t It Rain” is way too huge, but the fact is that anyone who hadn’t been exposed to the combination of Suter’s singular vocals and her death-defying back-up band got nailed to the wall like a butterfly in an entomologist’s lab. I know my jaw was on the floor during Suter’s awesome re-telling of The Flood, and it stayed there for most of the first four numbers.

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Holly & Evan, Joe Lowry Compete in Blues Challenge in Memphis

January 28th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Holly And Evan

Holly & Evan (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Story by Wanda Callagy
Photographs by Robin Murray, Andrzej Pilarczyk and Wanda Callagy

Holly & Evan, Joe Lowry & the Second Mile Blues Band and Tas Cru and his band Tortured Souls are on the road – all the way to Memphis…

The folks at the 29th annual International Blues Challenge will hear more than 200 blues acts – bands, duos and solo bluesmen and women – from around the globe throughout the week-long competition, and these talented Local 518 musicians will be part of it all.

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