On December 28, 2012, Tom Rush celebrated his 50th year as a performer with a sold-out concert at Boston’s Symphony Hall. This 40 minute version featuring selected performances by Tom Rush and his guest performers: Buskin & Batteau, Jonathan Edwards, Dom Flemons and his house band was excerpted from the DVD version, available with a companion CD at tomrush.com. Watch this unforgettable milestone concert available for a limited time only. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/tomrushsymphonyhall
Tom has partnered with Canadian guitar makers MacKenzie & Marr to produce a limited edition recreation of Tom’s classic “Naked Lady” guitar, the original being destroyed in a house fire some 20 years ago. Since then Tom has been looking the right partners to recreate this iconic instrument.
This is the coloring book-with-CD I mentioned in the recent newsletter. It has received 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); 16 pages, with each verse on a separate page ready for your budding Picasso (Monet?)
It’s now available online and at shows.
And here’s the song that made it all possible, The Fish Story Song:
Celebrating his 50th year of singing, Tom appeared in a gala show at Symphony Hall, Boston, on December 28th, 2012. The performance featured Jonathan Edwards, Buskin & Batteau, Dom Flemons, Trevor Veitch, Eric Lillequist, Dean Adrien, Joe Mennonna, Marshall Rosenberg, Paul Guzzone and special guest David Bromberg. The performance was streamed live on the web, and was recorded for special DVD/CD 2-disc set, available now in our store.
For the occasion of his 50th, Tom has also re-released two CDs of earlier work, Tom Rush at the Unicorn (1962) and Live at Symphony Hall (Originally released in 2001). The latter contains selections from the album “New Year Live at Symphony Hall”, originally released in 1982, and “Late Night Radio”, released in 1984. Both are available in the online store.
Delivered by Gene Shay for Tom Rush
This is the text of the acceptance speech I asked Gene Shay to deliver for me at the International Folk Alliance conference in Memphis in Mid February, 2010. They gave me the Folk Album of the Year award, but I couldn’t’ be there because it was my daughter’s Winter Break, and I had promises to keep.
For those of you who don’t know, Gene has been the voice of folk on Philadelphia radio for eons, and is the main reason I have an audience there. He has been a good friend for a long time, and I hope he doesn’t harbor any ill feelings. I wrote the sections in brackets to be delivered as Gene “speaking for himself.”
[I’m accepting this award for Tom, who couldn’t be here because of a prior commitment to his daughter. He told me this is what he would say if he were here, and he asked me not to pre-read this, so forgive me if I stumble.]
As you may know, What I Know is my first new studio album in 35 years. I’ve been asked over and over by the media: “Why the hell did it take you so long?” The subtext being, clearly, “What are you, stupid or something?”
Well, I’ve given a variety of cute, mealy-mouthed excuses and explanations, like a defendant trying to charm the jury, and so far I haven’t been indicted. But I feel this is a room full of friends and colleagues, and I think it’s time that truth were told — or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Here goes:
Early in my career my overarching goal was to die a tragic death at an early age, as so many great artists that I admired had done. Frankly, I regarded it as a career move. My thinking was that then, and only then, would I get the recognition —no, adulation — I so richly deserved.
This plan did not work out, though I came close on a couple of occasions. Dozens of occasions, actually, but the point is: Tragic Death at an Early Age (TDEA) isn’t something that just happens – one has to apply oneself and work toward that goal. Although I dabbled in all the things that might have killed me off in my twenties, I lacked focus. I lacked dedication.
I didn’t give up, though. I held on to my dream — into my thirties, forties, fifties. At last, however, in my late sixties I’ve had to come to grips with reality (or a reasonable facsimile thereof): TDEA has evaded me. A Tragic Death at an Early Age is simply not attainable when you’re sixty-eight. A mundane death as an old fart seemed to be my fate.
I was despondent at first, but at last realized that this was not the end. Perhaps this great disappointment could be seen as an opportunity. Perhaps I could actually do something rather than just wait around. Perhaps I could make another album!
And this is when Jim Mussleman called me up and suggested that I make another album. I tried my usually litany of excuses, but he wasn’t having it. He recruited Jim Rooney to produce the project, and Jim, with his band of merry men and women in Nashville made absolute magic with the raw material I lugged in.
I want to thank Jim Mussleman for not taking no for an answer; Jim Rooney for his talent at extracting more from you than you knew you had; all the mystical, magical musicians that contributed their talents, always in perfect service of the songs; David Ferguson for capturing all these wonderful notes and making me sound much better than I deserve to sound.
And, most importantly, all the radio folks who gave airtime to the results. (I find it very gratifying that virtually every cut on the album got a significant amount of play, that there wasn’t one “Hit” — though I’m sure that drove Mussleman crazy.)
Radio, as you all know, is still the very best way to connect the music with the audience, and to keep an art-form alive. It’s the jocks who get our music where it needs to go, who give the audience a place to congregate, who bind the community together. Some of you are close personal friends, some I know through phone chats, some only from listening on the air or on the ‘net. You are heroes, and I thank you!
I especially want to thank Gene Shay, who taught me everything I know, whose towering talent and rugged good looks are an inspiration to me, who is probably the most important person in the history of music. [I’m just reading this.]
New York, NY. (Top 40 Charts/ Shore Fire Media)
On February 24, 2009, Appleseed Recordings will release Tom Rush’s first full-length studio album in over thirty years, ‘What I Know.’ This album is the newest chapter in his legendary career and features original material and Rush’s interpretations of songs such as “Drift Away.” Rush offers up an inspired fifteen track CD of songs handpicked by the artist and producer Jim Rooney and recorded in Nashville. The album is built uponRush’s uncanny ability to deliver emotionally charged narratives and deft performances on a joyous album that features stunning collaborations with Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith and Bonnie Bramlett. ‘What I Know’ opens with Rush’s own “Hot Tonight” – an ode to life’s guilty pleasures best enjoyed long after the sun has set for the day. He incorporates favorite libations (scotch and soda, gin and tonic, margaritas), favorite locations (Boston, LA, New York City and Conshohocken, PA) in his recipe for a good time and declares that he’s “gonna sing and dance ’til the rising sun, have some fun until the police come, it’s gonna get hot tonight.” Standout track “Lonely” is delivered by Rush in an acoustic, bluesy, aching lament to a lost love seasoned with slide guitar and Rhodes piano. The album ends with a wistful re-imagination of Mentor Williams’ “Drift Away.” Translating the classic song into a gentle hymn, Rush’s bittersweet delivery shines on the song’s most famous line: “I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away…” In addition to his contributions to the folk rock music scenes of Boston and New York in the 1960s and being credited with introducing the world to the songs of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne through his interpretations, Rush continues to be instrumental in championing newcomers to the singer-songwriter community via his Club 47 Music Series – which has been host to Alison Krauss, Shawn Colvin and many notable others. Dates are confirmed for a North American tour beginning in January of 2009.
For a complete list of tour dates, click here: http://tomrush.com
First published: 15.12.2008 top40-charts.com
In 1970, Tom was locked up on a trans-Canada private train for a week with the likes of Janis Joplin, the Band, the Grateful Dead, Buddy Guy and more. “Best party I’ve ever been to – hands down”, says Tom. The DVD release “Festival Express“, chronicles this infamous tour, with many classic performances including a full-length video of Tom singing “Child’s Song.”
Note: Sadly this DVD is now out of production.