"A Musician You Should Know"
These musicians perform with The Tortured Souls on the road with Tas Cru. The lineup changes dependent upon the availability of the musician and the number of performers the venue or festival require.
SONNY ROCK - DRUMMER
With 30 years of working as a professional drummer in the fast-paced LA music scene, Sonny Rock has seen and played it all!
In Los Angeles Sonny performed with actor/singer The Reverend Billy C. Wirtz and befriended many well-known contemporary blues talents.
For the past 5 years Sonny has toured with Tas Cru across the United States and Canada.
Sonny currently resides in New York State’s Hudson Valley nearby Woodstock, NY and when not touring with Tas Cru performs with many of the best area musicians including Bruce Katz (Delbert McClinton band), Jay Collins (Greg Allman band and Levon Helm band) and Rick Knapp (Walter Trout band and Jimmy Thackeray band.)
Sonny also produces and hosts a weekly live broadcast radio show, “Local Licks” on station WRIP-FM in Windham, NY. His shows features music he discovers on his travels and includes all types of roots music genera. Featured weekly in the studio are guests that include those musicians mentioned above as well as many more notables.
DICK EARL - HARP
Dick Earl Ericksen's stirring harmonica has been described as “honest and strong, from the depths of a true bluesman’s soul.” This is Dick’s second stint with Tas Cru as the two (along with Dick’s wife. Alice “Honeybea” Ericksen) teamed up several years ago in the early 1990’s to form Honeybea and the BluDronz where they honed their craft as blues performers and songwriters.
Dick fronts his own band, Dick Earl's Electric Witness when not touring with Cru, showcasing his talents as a singer and guitarist as well as a highly skilled and creative harp man.
Other credits include opening for artists such as Billy Currington, Firehouse, Janet Robin, and Credence Clearwater Revisited, and is often called upon for the studio to add his mojo to other artists' work including Cru’s latest album “You Keep the Money.”
Dick Earl needed brain surgery in 2008, due a condition called Chiari. He was losing his ability to perform, and no one was sure if Dick's unique harmonica sound would return to the stage post-op. Fortunately, it was a speedy and successful road to recovery for Dick. Since then he has rededicated himself, and feels even more drive to perform and share his music.
GUY NIRELLI - KEYBOARDS
Guy has been playing the Hammond Organ for over 30 years, starting at the age of 10. As a young artist he was influenced by the sounds of Jimmy Smith and his effortless playing as well as the technical master, Joey DeFrancesco.
These influences combined with years of performing have helped Guy develop mastery of the Hammond that is heard on Tas Cru's latest album " You Keep the Money.”
In addition to performing with Cru at various festivals and blues rooms around the country, Guy has played noteworthy shows that include concerts in the nation’s capital at the Smithsonian Institute and the Kennedy Center.
When not touring with the Tortured Souls, Guy performs and records with Patti Parks, producing her record, “Cheatin’ Man” and currently working on a follow up to this award-winning album.
MARY ANN CASALE - VOCALS
Born and raised on Long Island, Mary Ann started playing music at a young age win response to the strong jazz and blues influences acquired from her uncle, who taught her how to play guitar. As a teenager, she played the emerging college coffeehouse scene where she had the privilege of sharing the stage with Harry Chapin on several occasions.
Mary Ann then traveled the country, paying her way by busking in bus stations and playing in dusty dives before another life took over – one from which after an almost thirty year hiatus, she started writing and performing again. Since stepping back on stage, she has played in a number of concert venues throughout the Northeastern US.
Mary Ann’s 2014 release, “Running Out of Time” was produced by Tas Cru and led to her lending her vocal talent to his “You Keep the Money.” Mary Ann and Tas now frequently perform in the round as an acoustic double bill, playing a mix of each other’s songs as well as their own arrangements of songs they wish they wrote! She now is recording her new album,” Restless Heart” produced by Cru and scheduled for release in early in 2016.
ALICE "HONEYBEA" ERICKSEN - VOCALS
Alice "Honey Bea" Ericksen is a soulful songstress who has the ability to captivate the ear of the most discerning listener.
As a member of Tas Cru’s touring band her main role is to provide added vocal texture and a second dimension as a backing vocalist. BUT, make no mistake, when Tas cuts her loose on lead vocals she is a powerhouse!
Alice also has a gift to engage a crowd and bring folks to their feet. Among Alice's wide-ranging studio experiences, she played a vital role performing on Tas’ latest album, “You Keep the Money." Her work on the record brought that true gospel feel to the songs that Tas was seeking.
When not touring with Cru, Alice fronts her own band, Soul What? who performs regularly in Las Vegas.
Off stage, Ericksen has created a following of a different kind - kids who rock! As co-owners of The Academy in St. George, Utah, Alice and her husband, Dick Earl, provide lessons and performance opportunities for children and teens.
As with her husband, this is Alice’s second foray with Tas Cru as she was the “Honeybea” of Honeybea and the BluDronz, their 1990’s blues and r&b band. Cru is thrilled to have her join the band on tour!