OKLAHOMA CITY — Edgar Cruz still gets fans who recognize him from when he used to play the bass parts on the Guitarron with his dad in Mexican restaurants.
“Back in 1976 he was paying me $7 dollars an hour to do this. I was only making $1 an hour washing dishes,” he said with a smile.
Edgar took to the guitar right away, writing his own arrangements to popular music, challenging himself with every song.
“I wasn’t good enough to play my own arrangements,” he said. “I had to get better.”
His dad, trying to give him a humorous piece of career advice, once asked him about the difference between a guitar player and a plate of fajitas.
“He said, ‘A big old plate of fajitas can actually feed a family of four,'” he said with a chuckle.
But Edgar’s talent proved out.
Over the years he built a good living out of his musical abilities playing for whoever might want to pause and listen.
He recorded cassette tapes in his bathroom at first, then released his first CD in 1989, a Christmas album.
“Back in the day it was called, ‘Throw Another Tape in the Fire,'” Cruz recalled.
There was another one the next year, and another.
The songs kept coming.
In 30 years he recorded 18 CD’s and two popular videos.
“Sometimes it seems like just yesterday,” he said.
Time flies like his fingers but that’s not to say he didn’t face challenges.
In fact, look closely at his style.
Most finger style players use their thumbs to play the low notes. Edgar can’t.
He explains, “It’s just a very thing called focal dystonia. It means involuntary movement of the joints.”
Somewhere along the line he had to relearn his craft on the fly.
“And the audience never caught on,” he said.
You can still find Cruz playing gigs all over Oklahoma.
He is a one man show, an orchestra on one instrument.
Cruising along at 57, Edgar appreciates every note.
Doing what you love every day makes for happy music.
Edgar Cruz is celebrating 30 years of CD recordings with a series of concerts including one Wednesday, September 18th at the UCO Jazz Lab. The how starts at 7:30.
For more information on Cruz and his music go to http://www.edgarcruz.com/.