|photography courtesy of Kristy Kruger|
In November, Lt. Colonel Eric Kruger was killed in Iraq. He was one of the highest-ranking officers to die in the four-year conflict. He left behind a wife and four children. “When I found out about his death, it was the saddest day of my life,” says Kristy Kruger, a singer/ songwriter from Dallas who won Best Female Singer at last year’s Dallas Observer Music Awards.
In January, looking to cope, Kristy played a memorial show at Opening Bell Coffee (formerly Standard & Pours on Lamar Street). The show went well. So well that in March she decided to launch a 50-state tour in Eric’s memory. All benefits from the shows go to his widow in Colorado. “I think Eric died for America and I’d like to see what he died for,” Kristy says. She returns to Dallas in June for a show at Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse.
Prior to her brother’s passing, Kristy was (finally) making a name for herself nationally. Her 2006 effort, Songs from a Dead Man’s Couch, won Americana Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards (the judges included Norah Jones, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones). Yet her relationship with Eric and the effect his death had on the entire family—Kristy’s father is a Vietnam veteran who supports the Iraq war—put her ambitions on hold. She found the only way of dealing with Eric’s death was to sing about it. “I know that my brother would want me to keep singing,” Kristy says. “And I feel closer to my brother when I play music.”