Writing a book?!? – October 20, 2010

Writing a book?!? – October 20, 2010

October 20, 2010


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,

ryan schmidt

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.

A QUICK HEADS-UP, September 9, 2010

A QUICK HEADS-UP, September 9, 2010

September 9, 2010


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

Karmic Journey – August 6, 2010

Karmic Journey – August 6, 2010

August 6, 2010


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,

ryan schmidt

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.

Tom plays Mountain Stage

Tom plays Mountain Stage

NPR has posted Tom’s performance of the March 16,2010 performance at Mountain Stage.

A mainstay of the Boston folk movement of the ’60s, Rush is one of the performers for whom the term “singer-songwriter” was originally coined. He performs some of his greatest hits, and a choice cover, live on the program.


“What I Know” – Folk Album Of The Year

“What I Know” – Folk Album Of The Year

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.]

Thank you!

Tom Rush

Press for “What I Know”

Press for “What I Know”

Here’s what people have been saying about
Tom Rush’s new album What I Know:


“If anything, the new album is a reminder of the understated qualities that made him a beloved entertainer four decades ago: his warm, conversational singing style; caviar taste in the songwriters he covers; and nuanced guitar playing that proved so popular, he now sells an instructional video about his technique. . . a classic and honest Rush album worthy of a new era of fans who weren’t even born when he dropped off the commercial radar in the mid-’70s.” – James Reed,THE BOSTON GLOBE

“Rush still has that deep, relaxed voice that gives listeners the impression they’re old friends listening in on a musical conversation.” – Mlke Regenstreif,MONTREAL GAZETTE

“. . . A warm, crisp gem of an album . . . it features harmonies by Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith and Bonnie Bramlett and a band of stellar players such as Fats Kaplin, Robin Batteau and Mike Henderson. . . . Rush has a reputation as a great song-finder. . . . On his new album, Rush includes fine songs by Richard Dean, Steve Bruton, Melanie Dyer and Kim Beard Day among others, but the friskiest and most quietly plaintive songs come from Rush’s own pen.” – Daniel Gewertz, BOSTON HERALD

“On “What I Know,” his voice is still warm, deep and resonant, whether he’s singing the title track tale of enduring love; the saga of a soldier’s reflections (“All a Man Can Do”) or harmonizing with the likes of Emmylou Harris on “Too Many Memories” or Nanci Griffith on the playful “Casey Jones”. . . Great stuff, from the upbeat opener with Bonnie Bramlett, “Hot Tonight,” straight through to the closing cover of the old Dobie Gray hit “Drift Away.”” –SPRINGFIELD (MA) SUNDAY REPUBLICAN

“What I Know is a marvelously relaxed and self-assured return for Rush, a guy who self-admittedly displays neither of those traits when he enters a studio, which is one of the reasons he’s stayed away so long. Here’s hoping he realizes how great this album is and gets back to the studio before 2043.” – Brian Baker,CINCINNATI CITY BEAT

“. . . reaffirms his wit and genial presence in songs that highlight elegant, simple craftsmanship of elegant simplicity.” – HARTFORD COURANT

“. . . you’d never guess that he’d been away so long, from the lithe spirit in his voice on these 15 tracks. The title track, one of five Rush compositions, revisits the idea Sam Cooke outlined in “Wonderful World” with an infectious bounce all its own. Nanci Griffith helps out on his retelling of the folk ballad ” Casey Jones,” Emmylou Harris adds her incomparable harmonizing to Steven Bruton’s sweetly reflective “Too Many Memories” and Bonnie Bramlett lends her soulful voice to Rush’s frisky “Hot Tonight.” His lyrics are comfortably conversational, much like his lived-in tenor, both of which are applied masterfully in his definition of true beauty in “River Song””. . . – LOS ANGELES TIMES

“With his typical low-key approach, Rush has made a wonderful new album, featuring a number of fine new Rush originals, as well as songs penned by the likes of Jack Tempchin, Stephen Bruton, Eliza Gilkyson and Bill Miller. And he caps off the album with a beautiful, understated rendition of the old Dobie Grey hit, ‘Drift Away,’ accompanied only by his acoustic guitar and a cello.” – Greg Haymes, ALBANY TIMES UNION

“What I Know alternates between light, bouncy ditties (Hot Tonight and What I Know), thoughtful examinations (East of Eden, All A Man Can Do, and Too Many . Memories), and the familiar (River Song and a splendid rendering of Drift Away) . . . The results are spectacular.” – Donald Teplyske, RED DEER ADVOCATE (Alberta)

“Legendary at finding just the right songs to capture a time . . . Rush unveils five originals, including the high steppin’ ‘Hot Tonight’ and the sly ‘One Good Man’ and puts them alongside Eliza Gilkyson’s seductive ‘Fall into the Night’ and Steve Bruton’s poignant ‘Too Many Memories,’ which features a duet with Emmylou Harris. Melanie Dyer & Kim Beard Day’s melancholic, yet somewhat humorous ‘What An Old Lover Knows’ just wouldn’t sound the same if sung by anyone else. Rush . . . sticks to the tried and true, to country-folk-singer/songwriter mode, but that’s really not the point. The point is an old friend returns, scarred but not broken, in good humor and grand voice.” – Mike Jurkovich, Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange

“Tom Rush – the man with the golden ear, the comforting voice, the supple guitar and the craftsman’s pen – has given us a gift worth waiting for. – AMAZON.COM REVIEWS


“Great new album and well worth the wait!”

“. . . sweet, poignant and knee-slapping fun!”

“I received your newest CD yesterday. It was worth waiting for. This CD is the best since “Circle Game.” The arrangements are just wonderful and the song list is number one. All I can say it is “Fantastic”.”

“You guys did a marvelous job, the choice of material, the musicianship, the guests, it all comes together in a very enjoyable listening experience!”

“Great tunes!”


and many more ….

Reported Radio Airplay & Response (a sampling)

Compiled by Richard Gillmann from FOLKDJ-L radio playlists
Based on 12099 airplays from 146 different DJs

1. Tom Rush“What I Know” debuts at #35 on the Americana Radio Chart
and has been added at the following stations:
CJTR – Regina, SK
CKPC-FM – Brantford, ON
CKUT – Montreal, QCKACI – The Dalles, OR
KANU – Lawrence, KS
KAXE – Grand Rapids, MI
KBCS – Bellevue, WA
KBOO – Portland, OR
KCLC – St. Louis, MO
KCSC – Oklahoma City, OK
KCSN – Northridge, CA
KDHX – St. Louis, MO
KDNK – Carbondale, CO
KFOK – Georgetown, CO
KGLP – Gallup, NM
KMFB – Ft. Bragg, CA
KOPN – Columbia, MO
KPFT – Houston, TX
KRCL – Salt Lake Vity, UT
KRCB – Rohnert Park, CA
KRFC – Ft. Collins, CO
KRSH – Santa Rosa, CA
KSUT – Ignacio, CO
KSYM – San Antonio, TX
KTEP – El Paso, TX
KTHX – Reno, NV
KTRU – Houston, TX
KUT – Austin, TX
KVMR – Nevada City, CA
KVNF – Paonia, CO
KWGS – Tulsa, OK
KWMR – Pt. Reyes Stn, CA
KXCI – Tucson, AZ
KYSM – San Antonio, TX
KZSU – Stanford, CAWAER – Syracuse, NY
WAMC – Albany, NY
WAMU – Washington, DC
WBGU – Bowling Green, KY
WCVF – Fredonia, NY
WDCB – Glen Ellyn, IL
WDHA – Cedar Knolls, NJ
WDST – Woodstock, NY
WDVX – Knoxville, TN.
WEFT – Champaign, IL
WERU – Erie, PA
WEVO – Concord, NH
WFDU – Teaneck, NJ
WFHB – Bloomington, IN
WFIT – Melbourne, FL
WFMT – Chicago, IL
WCBE – Columbus, OH
WDVX – Knoxville, TN
WERU – East Orland, ME
WETS – Johnson City, TN
WFDU – Teaneck, NJ
WFHB – Bloomington, IN
WFPK – Louisville, KY
WFUV – Bronx, NY
WGBH – Boston, MA
WGCS – Goshen, IN
WGDR – Marshfield, VT
WGWG – Charlotte, NC
WHDD – Sharon, CT
WHEE – Martinsville, VA
WHUS – Storrs, CT
WIKX – Pt. Charlotte, FL
WIUP – Indiana, PA
WJCU – Sagamore Hills, OH
WJFF – Jeffersonville, NY
WMLB – Atlanta, GA
WMNF – Tampa, FL
WMMT – Whitesburg, KY
WMSR – Auburn, AL
WMUA – Amherst, MA
WNCW – Spindale, NC
WNCS – Montpelior, VT
WNCW – Asheville, NC
WNMC – Traverse City, MI
WNRN – Charlottesville, VA
WNTI – Hackettstown, NJ
WOUB – Athens, OH
WPRB – Princeton, NJ
WRKF – Baton Rouge, LA
WRPI – Troy, NY
WRRW – Virginia Beach, VA
WRUR – Rochester, NY
WRUW – Cleveland,. OH
WSM – Nashville, TN
WSYC – Shippensburg, PA
WTCR – Huntington, WV
WTUL – New Orleans, LA
WUMB – Boston
WUSB – Stony Brook, NY
WVGN – St. Thomas, V.I
WVTF – Roanoke, VA
WWUH – W. Hartford, CT
WXLV – Schenksville, PA
WXOU – Auburn Hills, MI
WYCE – Grand Rapids, MI

“What I Know” Album Press release

“What I Know” Album Press release

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 uponWhat I Know_BOOKLET_PSRush’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


The Remember Song

The Remember Song

Tom’s video performance of Steven Walters’ “The Remember Song” has cruised past 6 Million plays on YouTube!

“The Remember Song” was written by Steven Walters and is used with permission; this clip was recorded at Humphreys By The Bay, San Diego, CA, as part of Judy Collins’ “Wildflower Festival” on June 30, 2002

Tom Rush Rules Tupelo

Tom Rush Rules Tupelo

Review: Manchester (NH) HIPPOPRESS
by Bruce Bressack
First published Thursday, May 26, 2005
Used with permission.

Do you know where your parents were last Saturday night?

Did you wait up for them and think, “It’s past 9 p.m. — how come they’re not home downing their Metamucil and watching Trading Spaces on the 60-inch plasma TV?”

Well, the Hippo found them at the Tupelo Music Hall, eyes glued to the stage, watching folk legend Tom Rush weaving his musical tapestry song by legendary song, story by hilarious story.

For the uninitiated, Rush helped shape the folk revival of the 1960s and its renaissance in the ’80s and ’90s. His early recordings introduced the world to the work of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and James Taylor.

According to Rolling Stone, Rush’s album The Circle Game, released in 1968, ushered in the singer/songwriter era.

The first time I saw Rush perform was 15 years ago at an outdoor concert in Conway, NH. It did not compare to seeing Rush perform in the intimate, listening-room environment of the Tupelo.

His soft-spoken introductions to the songs were easily heard in the hall, and his humorous anecdotes led to bursts of laughter, wild applause and healthy hoots and hollers. (If you think your parents don’t know how to party, I can send you the photographic evidence.)

Rush ruled the stage, masterfully performing everything from “The Panama Limited” by Mississippi blues man Bukka White, to Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game,” to Murray McLaughlin’s “A Child’s Song,” to his original and classic songs “No Regrets” and “Rockport Sunday.”

As the audience filed out, Rush stood patiently near the exit signing CDs and old album covers that fans had brought to the show. He chatted with folks like they were old and close friends, and he graciously posed for photo after photo.

If you were at the Tupelo that evening, you witnessed greatness (and humbleness) first-hand. Rush sold out the show and he gave the audience a truly generous performance. And, along the way, he reminded all of us why music was so important in the ’60s — it was real, it was powerful, and it was an “agent of change.”

Bruce Bressack is a singer-songwriter, producer and freelance writer currently living in New Hampshire. He’s a 53 year old baby-boomer, ex-Yuppie, ex-New Yorker, guitar-slingin’, piano-slappin’, finally ‘retired’, television tube lover…