Tickets Are Available at the Door
John Cruz Previews New Album at Special Concert Backed by All-Star Band
This year's Hallowbaloo Music & Arts Festival kicks off with ‘Electric Soul,’ a special concert by island favorite and Grammy Award Winner, John Cruz, at the intimate Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Cruz will be debuting songs off his new, yet-untitled album which is expected to be released in early 2014. Adding to the buzz surrounding the upcoming performance is the all-star band assembled for the show. Cruz will be backed by Bonnie Raitt's rhythm section, acclaimed musicians, James “Hutch” Hutchinson on bass and Ricky Fataar on drums, with local virtuoso Imua Garza helping out on electric guitar and keyboard.
For his third full-length release, Cruz has taken an approach similar to ‘One of These Days,’ opting to bring many songs to life with full instrumentation featuring drum, bass, keyboard, string and horn parts on various tracks. Virtually all recordings have been completed for the album with Cruz focusing on the finishing touches before scheduling its 2014 release.
Cruz’s pending new album and his 2007 release, ‘One of These Days’ (bowed at #1 on Billboard’s World Music Chart & earned Cruz his third Na Hoku Hanohano award for Best Contemporary Album) serve as the inspiration for the upcoming ‘Electric Soul’ concert at Doris Duke Theatre. Cruz will still have an acoustic guitar in his hand for much of the night, but like his most recent recordings, he will have the energy of a full band behind him - and what a band it is. Bassist, James “Hutch” Hutchinson, joined Bonnie Raitt’s band in 1983 and has played on every album and tour with Raitt since. Ricky Fataar’s work with Raitt goes back to his playing drums on her 1982 “Green Light” album. Both Hutchinson and Fataar helped provide the rhythmic anchor for Raitt’s multi-platinum “Nick of Time” and “Luck of the Draw” albums and her 2013 Grammy Winning record (Best Americana Album), “Slipstream.” In addition, Hutchinson and Fataar have contributed to the recordings and tours of a literal who’s who of roots/rock artists including work by Hutchinson with The Neville Brothers, Crosby, Stills & Nash, B.B. King, Ryan Adams, etc. and Fataar with The Beach Boys, Robert Palmer, Ryan Adams, etc. (for a great music history snapshot, check their bios: James "Hutch Hutchison and Ricky Fataar). Rounding out Cruz’s band is none other than his brother-in-law, Imua Garza, highly regarded locally for his singing and overall musicianship and known by many islanders as the lead singer and multi-instrumentalist of The Opihi Pickers who released six albums from 1998 through 2008 enjoying many local radio hits along the way.
“While one could argue that no one is better at captivating an audience with just his voice and guitar than Cruz,” states Hallowbaloo director Mark Tarone, “Cruz’s arsenal of knock-out songs - from Hawaiian to Blues to Folk to R&B - are made for this type of performance, and it’s so rare that we get to see Cruz share his music in this manner. The upcoming ‘Electric Soul’ concert reminds me of seeing Willie Nelson perform with just his guitar at a recent mainland festival - a tremendous show, but when I saw him backed by his Planetary Bandits Band at the ‘06 Kokua Festival, that was out-of-sight and something I may never get a chance to see again.”