Walled Lake teen guitarist wins contest to play alongside his musical idol Joe Bonamassa

Posted at 11:24 AM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 11:29:01-04

WALLED LAKE (WXYZ) — A teen from Walled Lake recently won a guitar contest and got a chance to meet his musical idol.

Jeff Crusan jams away on his guitar but he wasn’t always interested in this instrument. His grandfather bought him a guitar when he was 7 years old.

Jeff took only a few lessons before he thought it was not for him.

“When I’m about 12, grandpa brings an electric guitar with a little amp in from a garage sale,” he said.

Jeff taught himself how to play. He had some musical influences, but guitarist Joe Bonamassa is one of his favorites

“I thought what I was hearing was cool,” Jeff said.

He also plays saxophone and was the marching band drum major at Walled Lake Central. Earlier this year, the 18-year-old learned Joe Bonamassa was hosting a guitar contest. The winner gets a chance to meet the musician.

It’s an international contest for anyone 18 years or under, and Jeff just made the cut. He submitted a 4-minute video of himself singing and playing the guitar.

In July they made the announcement. Turns out Jeff is the winner of the first ever “Songbirds Ultimate Player Experience,” featuring Joe Bonamassa for 2020.

The prize? Meeting Joe Bonamassa in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“I’d seen Joe a couple of times live at the Fox Theater already, twice. The first time I saw him was like, ‘oh my God, there he is.’ The second time was ‘oh there he is again,’" Jeff said. "And now when he actually came walking in after I won this contest, it was like there he actually is.”

He got play with his musical inspiration earlier this month.

Now, Jeff wants a career in music and he has a great story to tell on his journey.

To see his session with Joe Bonamassa, go to: