Edgar Cruz, whose repertoire consists of over 400 songs ranging from The William Tell Overture to Bohemian Rhapsody, returns to UT Dallas with Michael Kelsey. Cruz performs over 200 live concerts annually and has been featured frequently on ABC, NBC, CBS, cable stations and PBS-affiliate television. Kelsey has performed with artists such as Santana, Eric Clapton, B.B King, Adrian Legg, Tim Reynolds, Jeff Beck and Pat Metheny. He has opened for Blind Melon, The Bodeans, Dishwalla and Cowboy Junkies. David Wilcox has described Kelsey’s performance as “Cirque Du Soleil on acoustic guitar.”
Each year EDGAR CRUZ performs more than 200 concerts and has played throughout America, Europe and South America. He has been a headliner at the prestigious Chet Atkins Guitar Festival every July in Nashville since 1995 and is a strong icon at major festivals in Oklahoma. Those who have witnessed Cruz’s performance immediately become entranced at the precision, speed and complexity with which his fingers strike the strings of his guitar to create a symphony of sound unusual to just one instrument. Cruz offers an incredible live repertoire of the greatest hits of the guitar, such as “Malagueña,” “Classical Gas,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “In the Mood,” “Dueling Banjos,” “Hotel California,” a classical medley, Latin favorites, originals and medleys on the fly. Audience interaction, participation, clapping, singing, dancing, snapping, “olés” and “yee-haws” are all encouraged. Seventeen CDs and two DVDs are currently available. Country, Western, Beatles, Inspirational, Celtic and Broadway are just a few more in the works.
Edgar has been named the Oklahoma’s Top Performing Artist and/or Acoustic Guitarist for more than 15 years by the Oklahoma Gazette. He has received numerous civic acknowledgments for his contributions to various charitable events. He also performs a wide variety of bookings including concerts, festivals, weddings, receptions, banquets, schools, churches, conventions, fiestas, memorials or any special occasion. Edgar holds a bachelor’s of music degree in guitar performance from Oklahoma City University. He was recently added to the Hispanic exhibit at The Oklahoma History Center and was also honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Oklahoma City University in 2010. His You Tube video of “Bohemian Rhapsody” has more than 14,000,000 hits worldwide.
MICHAEL KELSEY is a rhythmic, inspired guitarist and performance artist who blends many musical genres with fervour and grace. When he hits the stage to perform, he plays every inch of his guitar pulling out every part of it or anything else an arm's length or foot kick away. Through out a performance Michael may make use of technolgy, his improve skills, objects in the room, and audience interaction to make music for the ears but more importantly a musical experience for the senses.
Born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana, he began his musical journey weaving in and out of successful area bands as lead guitarist or bassist. Later he opened and ran a thriving recording studio, which after five years he retired in order to enable him to embark freely on his career as a solo artist.
His naturally soulful vocal illuminates carefully chosen lyrics that make his songs shimmer and shine. He plays expressively and manipulates the guitar to create a melodic fusion of alternate tunings and unorthodox hand positions allowing for him to achieve a full sound. The true beauty is in the way the song, the sound and the motion of his music unites. The songs, especially the lush instrumentals, can be reminiscent of the late, great Michael Hedges, but boast Kelsey’s personal percussive stamp, exceptional arrangement and deliberate instrumentation.
His live performances are particularly moving. Sometimes he sounds as if he’s deftly playing more than one guitar. At a Kelsey show audience members may actually lose themselves in the moment and forget they are listening to one person. They can be tapping their foot one minute, in a deep trance the next, then bursting into laughter.
"There is a five piece band in my head. They all have different tastes in music and they are all trying to escape at the same time through my hands, feet and mouth. I hang onto an acoustic guitar and see what happens," Kelsey sums up his stage show aptly. He is well versed in the art of entertaining and at every show he creates a rare army of sound that comes from one man, a voice and an acoustic guitar.
Whether he’s creating a song spontaneously for a lucky lady in the front row, telling a story complete with sound effects, or letting an inspired moment move his fingers around the fret board, Kelsey never performs the same show twice.
After performing an opening set for folk artist David Wilcox, David described Kelsey's show as “Cirque Du Soleil on acoustic guitar."
Kelsey’s abilities have enabled him to be noticed by many. A finalist in Guitar Player Magazine's national competition and winner of Guitar Center’s "Guitarmageddon," chosen as best unsigned guitarist out of over 3000 entrants nationwide says it all. This allowed him to be apart of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads 2004 performance where he shared the stage with many of the guitar legends such as Santana, Steve Vai, Eric Clapton. He has toured nationally with Blind Melon and Dishwalla and has opened shows for many artist of many styles including The Doobie Brothers, 38 Special, Rodrigo and Gabriella and the California Guitar Trio.