I hope you all survived Thanksgiving (and avoided talking politics with Uncle Stan), and Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. It’s been a busy week! But now you can relax because all your holiday preparations are done, right? Right? Well, OK, neither are mine.
A couple of helpful hints: TomRush.com; is always a great place to look for smaller gifts (the new album, Voices, in particular).
AND, for a larger gift for that guitar player on your list, Mackenzie & Marr is having a spectacular sale on the (https://www.macmarr.com/store/tom-rush-naked-lady) guitar right now — 40% off. I may have to buy a couple myself!.
Also, if you’re still feeling charitable after Giving Tuesday, there are so many good causes these days, because there’s so much need! A couple of my favorites are Heifer International, based on the premise that animals — a cow, a goat, chickens, rabbits — can make a critical difference in a struggling family’s life. And APOPO, which trains Gambian Pouched Rats to locate derelict landmines in old war zones. You can have a rat named after whomever you like. (We gave one to Jim Braude at WGBH Radio — there is now a pouched rat named Jim Braude doing lifesaving work out there!)
I’m girding my loins for the last shows of the year, a bit of a Marathon — seven concerts in ten days. I can handle it; after all, I’m young and strong. The fabulous Matt Nakoa will be along on all of these, playing breathtaking keyboards, singing soaring harmonies — and helping with the driving. Here we go:
Feel free to forward this to anyone you think might like to attend one of these shows — a good time guaranteed!
If I don’t get back to you before the end of the year I want to thank you very sincerely for your support and stamina. You make it possible for me to do what I love to do — make music for you! And many, many thanks to Team Tom —Andrea, Katy, Marilyn and all the crew at Skyline Music; Rob Stegman who keeps the webstore neat and tidy; my boy, Ben Rush, who designed and runs the esthetically-delightful yet highly-functional TomRush.com website; Ryan Schmidt who pitches in to help with assorted web projects; and, of course, my family, who tolerate all this foolishness!
All the best,
Quote of the month:
“I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays.” –– Henny Youngman
I voted and hope you did too. If you didn’t you have forfeited all rights to bitch about what happens for the next two years. The rest of us will retain the right to bitch no matter what happens.
Has anyone ever adequately explained Daylight Savings Time? Of course, that’s in the summer, and what we’ve got now is … what? Just “Time?” It’s easy enough to reset your watch, but resetting your brain can take weeks.
And why? I think I remember being told at some point that it was to keep schoolchildren waiting at bus stops from being eaten by wolves in the morning darkness, and if that’s true it’s been very effective. Of course, no schoolchildren were eaten before Daylight Savings, either, so there really hasn’t been a net gain.
I propose that they don’t go far enough, and that we should set our clocks back by twelve hours. Then we can all work all night and sleep all day. Or pretend that we’re in New Zealand — which is looking better and better all the time!
I’m about to bring a month of delightful indolence to a close and hit the road again. All these shows are with the uber-talented Matt Nakoa accompanying me on keyboards and harmony vocals — and doing some songs on his own. He’s a treat, and if you haven’t experience Matt, here’s your chance!
Coming very soon to a venue near you…
This Saturday, 11/10, the Narrows in Fall River, MA, a wonderful former-manufacturing space. You can feel the energy of the long-gone machines and workers (and the sound and lighting and seating is marvelous!).
Then off to the Midwest:
Thursday, 11/15 at the 20th Century Theater in Cincinnati, OH. I’ve not been there before, but have heard great things and am very much looking forward to it.
Friday, 11/17 in Traverse City, MI at the City Opera House, another first visit for me. Then on to …
Saturday, 11/18 at Space in Evanston, IL, a great club in Chicago’s northern ‘burbs that I get to every few years.
Tom Rush is a walking encyclopedia of American Song…. at 77 he’s found his own muse, and it’s really beautiful. I mean the album is just a joyful warm expression of life, it just feels lived in and it feels like something you can live with –– and his voice is still beautiful…. this wonderful album Voices has the feeling of a gift.
[A] true elder statesman of folk and singer songwriter stuff, it’s a fact he never will just crank them out. However when he does venture into a studio, he certainly has something to say, that is always very musical and flat-out feels real good. Voices upholds the “I’m-in-no-rush tradition.”
Voicesis Tom Rush in splendid form. If you know Rush’s music … I don’t have to tell you they are wondrous creations. They stand up under as many listenings as you care to subject them over years and decades…. If you don’t know the guy, Voices is as good as any place to get acquainted. Afterwards, you don’t have to thank me. Just treat yourself to more from his admirable body of work, and then rejoice that the man is still among us.
The CD’s closing title track [‘Voices’] invokes the eternal music of life, the songbook of sounds that surround us, felt if not often heard, and “the songs that sing the truest are in the key of love,” a life lesson cherished and passed along.
This is a great record, brimming with wonderful melodies, lyrics, and performances. It’s stripped down and mostly easygoing, with simple string arrangements, a touch of piano, and a rhythm section. At the age of 77, Rush, through his characters, comes across as relaxed, content, and comfortable with how things have turned out in his long career.
Voices is the first album ever of all-Rush originals, ten relaxed, warmhearted, amused and sometimes thoughtful songs that perfectly reflect Tom’s wry persona…. As on Rush’s previous studio album, 2009’s What I Know (Appleseed), his first studio release in 35 tour-filled years, his smiling, understated delivery, and exemplary skills as an acoustic guitarist are sympathetically framed by a crew of Nashville-based studio musicians helmed by musician-turned-Grammy-Award-winning producer Jim Rooney…
Like a comfortable pair of overalls or a warm blanket on a chilly night, Tom’s music may be comforting but that doesn’t mean that he plays it safe. On Voices – the first album in his career consisting almost entirely of originals – Tom Rush presents an album that embraces the spirit of his early recordings with the maturity that time has graced him with…. More than five decades on, Tom Rush is still creating music that springs from his heart and sings to the hearts of others.
The best news is that he’s composing not only frequently but well indeed. Rush told me in an email that he considers Voices “my best work (so far),” and I’m inclined to agree. There are wise and touching love songs (“Far Away,” “Life Is Fine”) and poetic meditations (the title cut)…. Throughout, Rush is backed by a fine combo, and his vocals are just as rich and compelling as they were on the best of his earlier albums.
I have found that to-do lists are a waste of time. Worse! They make you feel guilty about all the things you didn’t get done that you might have accomplished if only you were a better person. Then there’s the conundrum regarding whether you should put the most important things at the top of the list, or the most urgent even if they’re not all that important. And that gets you into the tangle of agonizing over whether buying the ice cream is actually important, or if it just seems that way. But, ah! Perhaps the most onerous chores should go first, on the theory that once they’re out of the way the rest will seem easy by comparison. (A best-selling book has been written espousing that theory.)
No! It’s all bull-poopy (excuse my language)! My new, improved system is to do whatever I feel like, then put it on a list and check it off. It gives me that glowing sense of accomplishment without wasting half the day agonizing over the illusion that any of it is actually significant in the overall scheme of things.
I will now take this brilliant insight, fluff it up to a 180 page self-help book with illustrations and charts, add a few Zen overtones and make a fortune. Kind of like the “Eat-Whatever-You-Want Diet ”. (I don’t know if that exists, but if not, it will be my sequel.)
The new Voices LP is here!! (It trailed the CD by a couple of months because all the pressing plants on the planet are backed up—an investment opportunity, perhaps!) Don’t have a turntable? Not to worry—it comes with a download-card so you can listen to the music while holding the cover, fondly remembering the time when you did have a turntable, back in college. (I lured Appleseed Recordings out on this limb, and it’s a very limited edition—500 copies and almost 200 of them are gone already to the folks who supported this project on PledgeMusic. Supplies really are limited.
Saturday, May 5th, the Ohio Folk Festival, Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center, OH (about half an hour north of Columbus). I’ll also be doing a workshop that afternoon at 3:00 PM, titled “The Creative Process”, wherein I will reveal the extent of my ignorance.
Sunday, May 5th, the Fur Peace Ranch, Pomeroy, Oh. This is an outfit run by Jorma Kaukonen. I was going to tell you to get tickets soon because this usually sells out, but I just went online an saw that it’s already sold out. Sorry!
Enjoy the spring!
Quote of the Month:
“It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.”
Universally attributed to Mark Twain, though no evidence can be found that he actually wrote or said it, proving the point.
Every time something horrific happens in this nation, our legislators leap into action, offering thoughts and prayers for the families of the victims. Oh, and moments of silence. Which is terrific, but arguably ineffective, since they keep having to do it over and over.
I try very hard not to get political, on the notion that I’m trying to provide an oasis for folks from whatever problems they’re facing in their lives, a bit of respite from the tribulations. But there comes a point when you just have to speak up.
WPSU Radio out of Pennsylvania State University has released the recording of a concert performed by Tom on May 15, 2015, at Pennsylvania State Theater.
Mel Deyoung of WPSU writes:
It’s no stretch to call the 76 year old Rush a folk legend, as he maintains a busy performance schedule that continues to bring audiences the warmth and energy for which he is well known. And of course, his incredible songs!