Hawaiian musician Ernie Cruz, Jr. comes from a musical family -- his father, Ernie Cruz, was a singer and guitarist who worked with David "Kawika" Crowley and was active in the music scene on the Islands in the 1970s, while his brother Guy Cruz performs in the Hawaiian ensemble Pure Heart. Ernie Cruz, Jr. first came to the attention of Hawaiian music fans as a member of the Ka'au Crater Boys, one of the most popular groups on the Islands, who combine traditional sounds with a contemporary feel. In 1997, Cruz recorded his first solo album, Time and a Season, but he made a bigger splash with his 2001 release, Portraits, which combined engaging original tunes with lyrics that moved from romance to incisive social commentary, all delivered with his soulful vocal style and dexterous guitar and ukulele work. Portraits was a success in Hawaii and in time word about Cruz's music spread to the mainlands, and in April 2007 he appeared with Eddie Vedder and Jack Johnson at Honolulu's Kokua Music Festival. When not busy with his solo career, Ernie Cruz, Jr. also performs as an accompanist with vocalist Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, his cousin. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi