LEDs & Other Threats – March 30, 2017

LEDs & Other Threats – March 30, 2017

Gang,

The room I’m in has 25 LEDs in it. I just counted them. Orange ones, white ones, red ones. Some blink, some just stare. Light switches, the smoke alarm, computer, printer, modem, power strips—the list goes on.

 I’m coming to believe that they are something like early one-celled life in the primordial oceans. It is their way of saying, “I am!” The ones that blink, of course, are saying, “I blink, therefore I am.” The poor old devices that have no LEDs are more like rocks, inert and dumb, the creations of mere humans.

While the devices with simple LEDs are admittedly still primitive, they are evolving rapidly. Some of these things now beep when you poke at them, and others—way too many of them—display the time of day. In the kitchen, too many gadgets want you to know that they know what time it is, and while they may have differing opinions on this matter, it is still disturbing. Have you wondered why a toaster has to tell you the time? It is asserting a modicum of authority, of superiority, over you. “I know the time and you don’t.” If you tell it that you do, in fact, know the time, it will haughtily ignore you. (I know this because I’ve tried it.)

Now, I don’t want to sound paranoid, but I think they’re coming to get us. It’s just a start with the shining, blinking, beeping and time-telling, but mark my words, it’s rapidly going to turn into something ugly. Consider this: the screen you’re looking at right now, the one you spend entirely too much time staring at in a semi-hypnotic state, is made of millions of tiny little LEDs.

I’m just saying. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Don’t just sit there, take action! Run screaming from your home and come to one of the upcoming shows!

 

Stay warm! If you’re trying to make maple syrup, good luck! From what I hear the weather has been too squirrely for the sap to flow.

Your pal,

Tom

Tom Rush

50,000 Watts – Jan 26, 2017

50,000 Watts – Jan 26, 2017

Gang,

Some 50 years ago, late at night, I’d listen to radio station WWVA out of Wheeling, West Virginia. They were a powerhouse, 50,000 Watts (the legal maximum in the US) “Clear Channel,” (meaning that no other domestic station had that frequency). AM stations bounce their signals off the ionosphere, and when that layer gains altitude at night, a clear channel station can be heard many hundreds of miles from the transmitter. (Dick Summer on Boston’s WBZ, another 50K CC station, got fan mail from Guam on one occasion.)

 

WWVA played, of course, country music, which I loved, but I was equally intrigued by the ads. By way of example, they were at one point selling a, “Handy, Dandy Bug Killer, absolutely guaranteed, folks, to kill any bug that creeps, crawls or flies! So simple a child can operate it, following the simple instructions on the package!” What you got for $4.99 (plus $3 in postage) was two small blocks of wood. One of the blocks had an X painted on it, and the simple instructions were, “Place bug on the X and slap.” They sold a ton of them. (Mine worked real good!)

Now, I’m not for one minute drawing parallels between this and the recent election (the Handy Dandy was not, for example, made in Russia, and Trump’s campaign did not overtly say, “Place disadvantaged people and the environment on the X and slap”), but the point is that sometimes you don’t get what you thought you bought. Or you do, but it doesn’t work the way you’d expected. Or at all.

Enough! The first shows of 2017 are coming right up – check out the shows page!

Keep the faith, and stay warm!

Tom

Tom Rush

Quote of the month:

The winner in the Mis-Appropriating Songs for Jingles contest is an actual ad run during the holidays by the Chicken Ranch, a legal brothel outside Las Vegas: “I’ll Be Prone For Christmas.”

(Submitted by John Harrow)

Happy Brave New Year – Jan 8, 2017

Happy Brave New Year – Jan 8, 2017

Gang,

Happy New Year to one and all! I hope that 2017 is treating you appropriately so far. As for me, the news of late has been so alarming and depressing that I’ve taking to finding refuge in flights of fantasy. (Call me Tutankhamun, I’m da king of denial!)

For example, it was brought to my attention that an application was filed for a license to use Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” in a commercial for hemorrhoid cream. The application was denied, but it got me thinking. How about “Urge for Going” for adult diapers? “Someday My Prints Will Come” for CVS film processing? Carly’s “Anticipation” re-written as “Constipa-a-ation (Is Making Me Wait)? The possibilities are endless! Feel free to go to my Facebook page and post further suggestions.

A network massage:
I’m looking for a writing space in the western ‘burbs of Boston, hoping to be able to finish up work on songs for recording sessions in the spring. (I almost have enough to record an entirely self-penned album, which would be a first.) A vacant guest house? In-law apartment? A home that’s empty while the owners tour the world while there’s still time, and a world to tour? Suggestions welcome, percs available. (Album credit? A home concert? The possibilities, again, are endless.)

And a treat for you! I’ve had the honor of working with two ultra-talented youngsters over the past year or so. Matt Nakoa has been my musical compadre for most of the shows I’ve been doing lately. He’s also got his own thing going on and is attracting a lot of attention. Seth Glier and his buddy, saxophonist extraordinaire Joe Nearny, have also joined me on stage on several occasions and just blown the audience away. (I must have a masochistic streak to be working with such show-stealers as Matt, Seth and Joe.)

Seth Glier and Matt Nakoa

They’re all doing a show together at The Center for the Arts, Natick (TCAN) this Friday the 13th in Natick (of course), Mass. They’ll each do their own sets, but I’m pushing them to collaborate on some songs—I think this could be a 1+1=11 situation. I plan to be there, hoping that the kids might let the geezer on stage for a tune or two—hoping we might get to do “Kids These Days,” a song I haven’t done in forever, but kind of fits the situation. These guys are going to be big deals someday soon, and you can say you saw them back when. (Did I lie to you about Joni? Jackson? James?) Come on by—I guarantee a night to remember!

Hang in there. Remember, it’s always better to fight for something than against something.

Stay warm, stay sane!

Tom

Tom Rush

Quote of the month: “Democracy is a device that insures that we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
–– George Bernard Shaw

Pan Global Partnership – Sep 29, 2016

Pan Global Partnership – Sep 29, 2016

Gang,

Right off the bat, I’m going to massage the network a bit: we’re going through the college frenzy with our 17 year-old daughter. She’s developed a keen interest in journalism (inspired by Arron Sorkin’s “Newsroom” series, and intensified by two summers of internships at WGBH in Boston). Northwestern U in Evanston, IL, is high on her list, along with Barnard, Columbia, perhaps Georgetown and Duke. Anyone out there have a kid at one of these schools? Faculty? We’d like to get the backstage tour if at all possible. Let me know!

It’s been busy lately, on the verge of too busy. Just got back from 6 days out West, from Portland down to San Diego, then out to Phoenix. Music business savant and blogger Bob Lefsetz came to both the early and late shows at McCabe’s in Santa Monica and wrote a very, very nice review. Bob is passionate about music, has high standards and is an extremely busy guy, so I’m flattered that he took time to come to the shows and that he enjoyed them so much!

In other news, I just did a concert for the Circle of Friends in Franklin, MA, and was surprised and delighted that two guys had travelled a very long way, from opposite directions, just to see the show; one came from Australia, the other from Switzerland (see picture).

 

 

 

I suggested that, going forward, they should bring me to Australia and Switzerland, respectively, and save themselves the trip. That’s just the kind of guy I am. Coming up, it’s just as busy!

Enjoy the Fall,

Tom

Tom Rush

Quote of the month:
“Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy person has no time to form.”
–– Andre Maurois

Where concerts come from – March 4, 2016

Where concerts come from – March 4, 2016

Gang,

All right, children, gather ‘round and settle down. You’re old enough now, and I think it’s time I told you where concerts come from. You see, when a musician and a concert hall love each other very much …

Actually, it’s even more complicated than that.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is: “Why don’t you ever play in Mytown?” I think folks envision musicians as sort of range-riders, roaming the countryside in search of places to perform. “OK, Stinky, this looks like a good place to camp. You circle the groupies and set up the tent. I got a hankerin’ to be moseyin’ on over to yonder Performing Arts Center and do a show.”

Tom "out on the range"

It’s not like that.

The way it works is that the person in charge of such things at the Performing Arts Center (or club, or theater) calls up Andrea Sabata, my agent at Skyline Music, and says they want to hire me. Or sometimes she calls them. They talk over the broad outline of things and then, if it looks promising, she asks me if I’m interested. I usually am because I love doing shows. Andrea then gets back to the buyer and they thrash out the details. This is usually done, by the way, somewhere between six and eighteen months before the show date.

(Andrea spends her working hours getting the ducks in a row, but this is harder than one would think, and when they refuse to line up she ends up juggling ducks. Now, juggling ducks seems to come naturally to her and she’s very good at it, but at the end of the day it wastes her time and, as one would expect, annoys the ducks. )

So … if you would like me to come and play in Yourtown here’s what you do: call the PAC, or club, or theater and ask for whoever schedules the shows; tell them you want them to book Tom Rush and they should call Andrea at Skyline Music If you have to explain what a Tom Rush is that is not a good sign, but don’t despair. Hang up and call back in a few hours using a different voice and modified script. Repeat this process as needed – enlist your friends to do the same – until they finally cave in. It’s like a medieval siege, really, without the battering rams and ladders. Mind you, if you and your three co-conspirators are the only ones who turn up for the show I probably won’t be invited back.

So there you have it! Upcoming shows:

 

Spring is coming!

Tom

Tom Rush

Watch Now: “Tom Rush Celebrates 50 Years on Stage”

Watch Now: “Tom Rush Celebrates 50 Years on Stage”

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

Happy Birthday To Me, February 4, 2016

Happy Birthday To Me, February 4, 2016

Gang,

I have to admit I’m feeling guilty about enjoying the weirdly warm weather we’ve been having in New England. I know climactically it’s all wrong, but it sure beats shoveling! We just have to hope it’s not 30 degrees warmer than usual in August.

Grim news: on Monday I’ll be 75 years old. This is of concern because, according to my calculator, that’s the same as 99 Canadian. On the upside, however, it’s just 24 Celsius, so I’ll focus on that.

"No Regrets" Available in the on-line store
“No Regrets” Available in the on-line store

So I’m sitting here thinking, “Oh, my God — half my life is over! It’s time to take stock of things.” After a few minutes of reflection, I came to the realization that the sum total of my accomplishments could be written with a crayon on a bottle cap, with room to spare. So I’d best get to work finishing up all the half-done projects that are littering the filing cabinets. (In that regard, does anyone know Richard Branson? I’m serious. I have an idea for a very odd project I think he might enjoy.)

If any of you would like to know all about my brief life so far, by the way, you might find the video documentary “No Regrets” both fun and informative. Check it out!

One of the birthday presents I’m giving myself is a quick trip to Florida and Georgia for some shows with Matt Nakoa on board. I don’t think I’ve told you about Matt, but he’s been playing keyboards with me for most of my shows over the past year. He’s a monster, and I mean that in the nicest way. I ask him to do a couple of songs on his own during the course of the evening, and the crowd LOVES him. Maybe a little too much. I might be smart to discontinue that practice. (And, yes, ladies, he’s very cute, or so I’m told.)

Here are a couple of pictures of us on stage. In the second one, Matt is obviously thinking, “OMG and WTF, how can Tom possibly have so much talent and genius!!!” Alternatively, he may be thinking, “Where’s Jack Kevorkian when you really need him?”

 

Tom & Matt, photo credit: Tom Honan

 

Here’s the lineup for next week:

As always, if you can’t attend, send a friend!

All the best to all of you,

Tom

Tom Rush

PS. Coming very soon—a brand new, super-cool TomRush.com website. Stay tuned! TR

Quotes of the month:

“There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is: age 11.”
–– Dave Barry

“It takes a long time to become young.”
–– Pablo Picasso

Tom Rush in session with Matt Nakoa

How I met Matt

In the late Fall of 2014, I had invited a bunch of guest artists to my upcoming holiday show at Boston’s Symphony Hall, and I had a bunch of new songs I wanted them to get to know in case any of them felt like playing or singing along.

So I went over to Fox Run Studios in Sudbury MA, in the basement of my friend Neale Eckstein’s house, to cut some demos.

We set up the mics and got comfortable. Neale said, “I’ve got this keyboard player staying with me, in case you’d like to add some keyboards.” I said, “Nah.” “He’s really good,” said Neale. “No, thank you, I don’t think so,” said I. Neale stood over my chair, hands on hips (I may be mis-remembering this, but this is what it felt like), and intoned, “He’s really, really good.” Intuitive fellow that I am, I sensed that Neale, who was doing me a favor by letting me use his studio, wanted me to hear this guy. “Ah, OK,” I replied hesitantly, “maybe just one song.”

He then went and woke up Matt Nakoa and dragged him to the basement. He looked to be a very sleepy teenager (he’s actually 30 but you’d never know it), and clearly was unclear as to who this Tom Rush guy was supposed to be. So Neale sat him down and he added a piano track to a song I’d just cut. Damn! Sounded awfully good! We added keyboards to a couple of more tracks and then ended up re-recording the lot of them so Matt could play live with me.

At the end of the session I invited Matt to come to Symphony Hall and be part of the band. He distinguished himself there, and a few months later I asked him if he’d like to join me for a couple of gigs. The upshot is that young Matt has been on board with me for most of my shows over the past year. (He has his own schedule of concerts, and sometimes there’s a conflict.) He backs me up, makes me sound much better than I really am, and does a couple of songs on his own during the evening. The crowd loves him (especially the ladies, because he’s so cute!).

Matt’s on his way to bigger and better things, but I’m sure enjoying working with him while I can. Thank you Neale!

All the best,

Tom

Fox Run Studio: www.foxrun.org

Matt Nakoa: www.MattNakoa.com

 

Here’s a taste of what you can expect from Matt:

Tom and Matt performed live at The Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN), Natick MA on June 20th, 2015. Here Matt performs his song “Stormchaser”.