Tas Cru – Drive On
Mixing modern and traditional blues with rock and an overall original sound, Tas Cru and company once again deliver the goods on his second Subcat Records release. All the cuts are new and fresh. All the musicians are in synch and very exceptional. All the vocals are spot on. We have a veteran musician doing what he does best with seven super accomplices. What’s not to like???
Tas handles the vocals, lead guitar and harp work. Mary Ann Casal backs Tas on vocals and shares the lead on one track. Leanne MacRaye and Cary Manes-Neal also help on backing vocals. Anthony Geraci does a super job on organ and the keys. Anthony Terry adds much to the recording on sax. Gabe Stillman joins in on slide. Bass guitar is shared by mostly by Bob Purdy and on two tracks by Colin “Yellow Dog” Beaty. Andy Hearn handles the drums on six tracks, Sonny Rock on two and Cathy Lamanna on another. Ron Keck does percussion and engineered the album. All the songs were written by Tas; Mary Ann Casale shared penning “Devil In My Heart” with Tas.
Tas kicks off the album with a blues rocker with Anthony Geraci on B3 entitled “That Lovin’ Thang.” A driving beat with a killer groove, Tas and the backing vocalists deliver the goods and the B3 and sax wail in support. Geraci’s solo is killer and then Tas comes in and nails his solo on guitar. Nice hook for a great album! “Money Talks” is next, and we get to hear 2019 IBC Albert King/Gibson Guitar player of the Year on slide with Tas. Gabe Stillman plays some great slide, Tas gives an impassioned vocal delivery and the band is in high gear as Geraci, Stillman and Terry really shift things into overdrive. The title cut is up next. Tas and the band get a great groove going as Tas sings with grit. More superb support on sax and organ and Tas does an outstanding job on guitar. “Save Me” follows, a shuffle with a good tempo and another driving beat. Tas’ solo work is solid and the song builds in passion as it moves on; well done. “Cry No More” features Mary Ann Casal and her singers accompanying Tas on this pretty ballad. Tas picks out some nice licks on acoustic guitar and the backing vocalists play a bigger role rounding out the sound in this emotional cut.
Tas gets the boogie bug with “Kinda Mess,” with some cool sax and guitar work. Tas’s vocals are strong as he growls and shouts. The slide is outstanding, too! The dance party keeps going with “Shookie Shake,” a nice little rocker. Guitar and sax solos are solid and the organ work by Geraci also add so much to the sound. Another ballad follows, this time all-instrumental. “In This Moment” we get a nice blending of Tas with Geraci and Terry. Guitar, piano, organ and sax blend in an emotional mélange of cool musicianship. “Memphis Blue” is a swampy cut with slide and a great NOLA sound. Tas blows some great harp, Mary and the girls are right there with Tas and it’s a bouncy and fun song. Piano, guitars and harp are all in the forefront making sweet sounds. Tas and Mary Ann share the vocals on a dark duet entitled “Devil In Your Heart.” Acoustic guitar and a very bare and stark overall approach make for a spooky and haunting cut that is just fantastic and a marvelous close to a great album.
In the liner notes, Tas talks to us about his status and career as a road warrior. He relishes his ability to sing and play so much original music for people and, frankly, I am glad he does. We enjoy Tas’ visits to the Midwest and his support of our Blues in the Schools program. His programs and evening show for us each visit are always highlights for us. The songs here are a major part of his show as are so many other great songs Tas has written and recorded.
This is a fine CD as have been his past ones; here Tas takes out all the stops, assembles a fantastic band and gives us his best effort. This album really showcases his abilities as songwriter, singer, guitar player and band leader. I loved the CD and each song is certainly something that the listener will find as something to savor. I most highly recommend this album for your listening pleasure!