"The Blues Is What I Love - The Blues Is What I Live"

Tas Cru Newsletter -
Mid-February 2019

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Vinny Marini, Manager

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FULL DISCLOSURE:  this will be a long one! 
So much has been happening I have not had the time to catch up. 

Been on the road since the first of the year, but finally after 12 hours of sleep when we landed for a few days in Sacramento, CA, I am going to try to get you up to date before we head off to the PAC NW right after Valentine’s Day.

What a start to the New Year! 


Things kicked into high gear right away with the New Year’s Eve Blues Bash in Pittsburgh with our friends the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania.   They go all out for this event – great dinner, all night open bar and of course the music.  Brought a special band in for that event.  In addition to Sonny Rock, I had my gals Mary Ann Casale and Gail Sparlin singing up a storm, area harmonica great Charlie Barath and my buds from Williamsport PA, Colin “the Big Yella Dog” Beatty and Guitarist extraordinaire Gabe Stillman.  As many of you know, Gabe and his band competed in the finals at this year’s International Blues Challenge and Gabe won the Albert King Gibson Guitar award
as best IBC Finals guitarist! 

A week later we launched our ten-week tour. This band is Sonny Rock (drums) and me and marks the return of Dick Earl on harp and our new blood Tom Terry on bass. 

We got out of Dodge (Buffalo NY) ahead of the weather that quickly set things into a deep freeze in the Northeast and with a lot of snow.

We managed to stay just ahead of the bad stuff in the Midwest (Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas) safely arriving in Memphis just ahead of the International Blues Challenge.

Highlights from this first leg of the tour include:

fun times at our Slippery Noodle gigs in Indianapolis where I came way to close to tumbling off the 5 foot stage, and we shoveled snow at the band house! 


fun Blues In Schools with our friends at the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford, Il,


and hosting the annual Topeka Blues Society’s IBC kickoff party at Uncle Bo’s.   This event was bittersweet in that it was also the finale for our dear friend, Suki Willison, who after 13 years hosting touring blues acts, is moving on.


Memphis during IBC week is always so cool – a big blues family picnic.  We performed at a few different venues throughout the week.  


A highlight of course was the 11th Annual opening jam at the Rum Boogie.  106 visiting musicians from around the globe graced the stage and we raised  $2600 for the Blues Foundation’s Generation Blues.  Much thanks to Mick Kolassa, Tony Frederickson and the Rum Boogie for their support.

Handing Elizabeth Montgomery Brown the donations - and with Barbara Newman

After a few days in Clarksdale, MS, with our stay hosted by friend, Michissippi Mick and laid back gigs at Stan Street’s Hambone Gallery and Ground Zero Blues Club we were on our way for the second leg of the tour. 

First stop was at the Six Springs Tavern in Dallas area then playing for the Tall City Blues Fest folks’ Wang Dang Doodle.  Was great to see old friends, Lisa Grissom and Ronn Reeger and make some new friends too.  A great event, so thankful they had us!


Down the road to Arizona for gigs at the world famous Rhythm Room in Phoenix...
(thanks to "peace thru music" for the photos)

and an unexpectedly delightful gig at Prescott’s The Birdcage.

We hit the LA area for gigs in Pasadena and Ventura just ahead of the Grammy’s and the town was buzzing!  Much thanks to our hosts Crooked Eye Tommy Marsh and Brigitte Rios Purdy for making our visit memorable.


We headed up the Left Coast to play Biscuits and Blues in downtown San Francisco.   That was a thrill to get to play this prestigious club as have so many of the blues greats I admire so much. 

We did not leave our hearts in SF, but in Sacramento.  
My first visit there will be a fond memory as I fell in love with the city.  Our gig at Momo’s was so much fun. Local Val Starr joined us on stage.


Now it’s off to the PAC NW and later Canada for the final leg of the tour.  

Since starting the tour it’s exciting that 8 new dates had been added!  Biggest news though is that I will be starting my new affiliation as a mentor for the Washington state-based United by Music North America

This innovative program supports musicians challenged by circumstance with opportunities to learn and grow as performers. 

I will be doing a songwriting workshop and hosting UBMNA participants at gigs at Tacoma and Portland venues.

There you are – warned you – it’s a long one!  So much fun being so busy at what I love to do.  I am so ever grateful to those who accompany me on this journey – management, band mates, family and friends.  I love you all!
Coming up!  The Left Coast

We Are Always Ready For A Blues Education Program
just ask vinny at
To Book Tas For Your Venue, Festival or Event, Please Contact Douug Tackett at Road Dawg Touring...Click Their logo To Contact Him.
For Information On Blues Education Programs, Please Contact Vinny Marini.  
Click On The Logo To Contact Him.
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