Newsletter – February 11, 2011

Newsletter – February 11, 2011

February 11, 2011

Gang,

Unbeknownst to me, my loving wife conspired with Dan the Web Man to alert you to the fact that I had a birthday with a zero at the end coming up. I want to thank everyone who took the time to send me notes on FaceBook, on the Comments section of the website or via email. The sheer volume of this outpouring was startling, and I’m afraid I just can’t reply to everyone individually, but please know that you were each noted and appreciated! It was so nice, in fact, that I think I might do it again next month.

My Birthday Resolution is to spend more regular time on the creative process – both on music and on some of the other notions that have been rattling around in my head for years. I intend to go where the muse takes me rather than allot so many minutes for this, so many for that. This can be a somewhat risky proposition in that my particular muse seems to have a rather tenuous grasp on anything that we normal people might consider reality.

The Muse, is, of course, a very useful construct. We’ve all heard countless artists say that they were merely the channel for their work, which flowed from some Greater Source. I endorse this line of thinking because, on the one hand, it seems true, and, on the other, it gives one plausible deniability if it turns out that the work really, really sucks. “It’s not MY fault – the Greater Source did it.”

For example, I recently found a bird lying under the feeder by the kitchen window and brought him in to show Renee. (She is, among other things, a wildlife biologist, and I thought she’d be fascinated.) (And, yes, we have the little hawk-outline decals in the windows and all that good stuff.) She suggested that I write a song celebrating the bird’s time here, touching on the transitory nature of life and the ephemeral quality that lies at the heart of beauty. When I sat down, this is what Greater Source served up:

Oh, the bird is dead, ‘cause he bashed his head,
On the window by the kitchen.
Now he ain’t flappin’, he ain’t flyin’,
He ain’t even twitchin’.

And it went downhill from there. It’s NOT MY FAULT, you see. I am totally innocent. (I think, though, that I will NOT make a coloring book out of this one. Renee agrees.)

I’m headed out West later this month – check out the schedule below and come see me if you can. Stay warm!

All the best,

Tom

Tom Rush

Quote of the month: How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? – Satchel Paige

Newsletter – November 30, 2010

Newsletter – November 30, 2010

November 30, 2010

Gang,

I hope your Thanksgivings were all marvelous and that the relatives and in-laws behaved themselves as well as could be expected. It was a quiet weekend here, which was just lovely and bucolic. A flock of wild turkeys has started hanging out just outside the kitchen window. Of course they had the good sense not to show up until the day AFTER Thanksgiving.

book_fish_240.jpgI’m headed out for the last weekend of shows for the year, and will be trying out two (!!TWO!!) new songs. One is the kids’ song I talked about in my last missive (“The Fish Story Song”). It concerns a talking fish, and I’ll be bringing along the coloring book-with-CD I mentioned. It got good reviews from the neighborhood tykes and is now all dressed up with a cover picture by one David Jorgenson (who illustrated the Velveteen Rabbit, and many others, and happens to be a neighbor). If you’d like a sneak peek-and-listen go to our secret web page at TomRush.com/TheGreenRoom.html, which is just for folks on this mailing list. (The book is not yet available at the store at TomRush.com, but will be soon – and there’s all kinds of other good goodies there right now.)

The other song I’ll be trying out is a bit of social commentary written by my friend Josh Brackett, which addresses what I feel is an urgent issue confronting this great land of ours. I don’t want to give away too much, but the chorus goes

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with America,
I’ll tell you why times are so tough,
The poor have too much money,
And the rich don’t have enough!

It’s a rouser, and I expect the audiences will take a break from toasting each other with the Krug and Cristal and lighting their cigars with $1000 bills to join in and sing along. Come on by and lend your voice!

Thursday Dec. 2 (I don’t like to give you too much advance notice) is the Landing at Pine Point, Scarborough, ME; Friday will be Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry NH; Saturday will be the Bull Run in Shirley, MA with Eric Lilljequist and Dean Adrien joining me for our annual reunion, and; if it’s Sunday it must be the World Café Live in Philadelphia, PA. And then I do have one more show at the new Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, VT (just a few miles from home) on Friday, December 17, which I’m thinking of as my very own Christmas Party for friends and neighbors – and anyone else who wants to stop in.

Stay warm, let the ones you love know you love them.

All the best,

Tom

Tom Rush

Link of the month: Renée shared this with me – the text very thought-provoking talk by Bill Moyers on the reassignment of wealth in America.

Visit the store at TomRush.com where all kinds of cool things are offered.

Newsletter – October 20, 2010

Newsletter – October 20, 2010

October 20, 2010

Gang,

I’m just coming off of a whopping 5 and a half weeks in a row at home – this hasn’t happened for a LONG time, and it’s been great. Getting to know my family better, catching up on that long to-do list (but not entirely), writing a book. A BOOK?!?! Well, sort of. It’s for kids. (I love Steve Martin’s comment upon having finished his first kids’ book: “I never knew a book could be so short!”)

I sort of accidentally wrote a kids’ song a while ago. Now, I don’t do kids’ shows or kids’ albums, so I was afraid it would die of loneliness. It dawned on me during this recent sabbatical that it could be made into a children’s book/CD combo. Since I have NO skill whatsoever as an illustrator, I thought I’d just put a verse on each page and leave some blank space for the kid to do their own pictures. My thought is to do a small run of home-made copies and give them to any of the K-4 set that we know, see how it goes over. If it’s well received we might “roll it out,” as they say, and do a proper press run. Or not. Still, it’s my first book. I’m an AUTHOR!

A starting revelation was recently served up to me by one Barry Nester. We’d had a short email exchange about Sim Webb, Casey Jones’ fireman who survived the train crash that made the engineer famous in song. Then Barry sent me a link to an article showing that Casey was, in fact, not driving his own train, the Cannonball Express, when he died. He’d brought the Cannonball into Memphis from Canton, and then agreed to take another engineer’s train, Train #1, back south since that guy had called in sick (or whatever they did before telephones). Here’s the sentence that blew my mind: “Train No.1 was known as ‘The Chicago & New Orleans Limited,’ later to become the famous “Panama Limited”.” CASEY JONES WAS DRIVING THE PANAMA LIMITED WHEN HE DIED!

There may be those among you who can receive this information with a degree of calm, but for me this unexpected confluence of my two favorite train songs is earthshaking. Thank you Barry!

I’m heading out this weekend to see if I still remember how to sing and play and all that other stuff. Friday’s Jim Thorpe, PA, which is in the throes of the annual Foliage Festival – I expect scenic grandeur and lots of it. Saturday is the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Pittsburgh, with the show being organized by the Calliope Folk Music Society. Great hall, great folks! Then off to Toronto for Sunday and Monday at Hugh’s Room, a very cool club where I get to catch up with my Canadian buddies.

Come on by or send a friend! And get that cordwood in.

All the best,

Tom

Tom Rush

Link of the Month: Here’s the Casey Jones link. Note that at the top of the piece they say he was driving the Cannonball Express in the crash, but go down to the section headed, ominously, DEATH to get the real skinny: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_Jones

Visit the store at TomRush.com where all kinds of cool things are offered.

Newsletter – September 9, 2010 – A QUICK HEADS-UP

Newsletter – September 9, 2010 – A QUICK HEADS-UP

September 9, 2010

Gang,

Having got the summer wound down from vacation and the kid wound up for school I’m just all wound around. I find that “doing nothing” is far more strenuous than working, especially when it involves doing nothing with a bunch of other people who are similarly exhausted. The only thing to do is go back to work and recharge!

Tomorrow night, Friday the 10th, is Norfolk, CT, at Infinity, a simply marvelous room that I played for the first time last year. I’ve been eagerly looking forward to a return engagement ever since. An old vaudeville hall (Sam Clemens once performed there – hallowed ground indeed) that’s been lovingly restored, complete with a ghost named Vivian. I didn’t get to meet her, but dedicated a song to her just to be on the safe side. If you’re anywhere within striking distance and can mobilize I’d urge you to get there. And if you can’t get there tomorrow, get there to see SOMEBODY soon – it’s really a treat! [b/t/w, we’ll be video taping again for the documentary, so don’t come with somebody else’s spouse this time.]

Saturday I’ll be in Franklin, MA at the Circle of Friends, for the first time in a LONG time – 1998 was my last visit there. I suspect that I misbehaved badly but they’ve finally forgotten about it. I don’t remember doing anything bad, but sometimes that’s a strong indication that it actually happened. In any case it will be fun to see my South Shore and 495 buddies again!

And if it’s Sunday it must be Ogunquit, ME, Jonathan’s to be exact, another of my favorite places. Great food in a great room in a great town – what’s not to love? Come on up, or over, or down east. I’ve never not had a great time at Jonathans!

The very best to you all!

Tom Rush

Quote of the Month: The best way to behave is to misbehave. Mae West

Newsletter – August 6, 2010

Newsletter – August 6, 2010

August 6, 2010

Gang,

I’m sad to report that Roo, one of the little dogs celebrated in the Trolling for Owls story and CD jacket, has moved along in her karmic journey. She was the family comedian, never missing a chance to settle down for a nap in a hamper of warm laundry, ever incredulous that anyone would NOT want to have her in their lap. She is very much missed.

One of the notes of consolation we’ve gotten evoked the image of her chasing rabbits in doggie heaven, which got me wondering if doggie heaven might be the same place as bunny hell. And what a bunny would have to do to be sent there. Too much for my little brain. Religious wars have been started over lesser questions and so, since the world is discordant enough already, I’ll move on. (I’d hate it if historians were to note that “The BunnyHell Conflict of 2010, marking the end of the Old Civilization, was actually sparked by a casual email from an obscure folksinger.”)

For whatever reason this seems to be the Year of the Private Event. I’ve done birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, and fundraisers and there’s a wedding coming up. This is all delightful for me, but since I’m drawing the line at 50 shows a year these days (my bride rolls her eyes – “ONLY 50!”) it leaves less public dates to share with y’all. The upside it that it gives me the luxury of picking only the most extra special situations – ones I think you’d really enjoy. For instance:

!!FREE!! This Saturday, the 7th, afternoon, outdoors by the sea at the Scituate Harbor Heritage Festival, 2:30 PM in Scituate, MA, (following two acts called “Girls, Guns and Glory” and “The Fools” – can’t wait!)

Wednesday the 11th, a fundraising event for Boston’s WUMB, with Kenny White and Judy Collins. I believe this is only for sale at the station’s website. Buskin & Batteau will be joining me for this one, just like in the old days. I haven’t worked with these guys for quite a while, and it’s a treat to which I’m very much looking forward.

Thursday the 12th, an outdoor show for 802-649-1143innkeeper (yes, the phone number is part of the email address) or call 802-649-1143 and ask about the “Tom Rush Special”.

Later in the month, on Saturday the 28th, I’ll be returning to Cheney Hall (no relation) in Manchester, CT, a wonderful venue for folks in the greater Hartford area.

And last for the month, but far from least, ROCKPORT, MA ON SUNDAY! the 29th. Do you think I should perhaps put “Rockport Sunday” on the set list? The Shalin Liu Performance Center is a new venue there that I’m told is marvelous. Buy Tickets.

Hope to see you at one of these, or more!

All the best,

Tom

Tom Rush

Link of the month: this is just amazing, and makes you appreciate what a grand land we live in. It’s a bit long, but hang in for the part where he says, “I try not to smile ‘cause I got my teeth knocked out by a chainsaw.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn8EQ0azXpQ

Visit the store at TomRush.com where all kinds of cool things are offered.