Scattered Thoughts – May 3, 2017

Scattered Thoughts – May 3, 2017

Gang,

The roller coaster picks up speed, and thoughts are even more scattered than usual.

First and foremost, some misguided souls have taken my comments about the Big Record Companies, and how they want your soul and at least one kidney, to apply to the little labels, and to Appleseed in particular. WRONG! There are folks out there like Jim Musselman, running small operations because they love the music, and they are the heroes! I’m only down on the multi-nationals who regard artists as a disposable commodity and profit as the only goal.

Not all Chinese Cresteds are Ugly!
Not all Chinese Cresteds are Ugly!

Second, I got mentioned in the New York Times Science Times section last week. Not because of my towering intellect, or because I discovered a cure for anything (except boredom), but because I was misconstrued—again!—as disparaging a dog, or, more accurately, a breed of dogs.

 

The Ugliest Dog in the World was, for years, a Chinese Crested named Sam, who lived near us in Santa Barbara, and was a source of great civic pride. When an interviewer writing his obituary speculated that Sam, in spite of his looks, was probably very sweet, his owner said, “No, he was a really foul-tempered son of a bitch.” Sam has now gone to his reward and his title has passed on to another, who, hopefully, did not also inherit his temperament. (Our family’s Chinese Cresteds have all been extraordinarily lovely and/or handsome, intelligent and sweet!)

The Pledge Music campaign is hitting its stride! We’ve reached our goal of funding the recording sessions and are now working on paying for the artwork, the manufacturing (we’re going to do an LP as well as the CD!), the promotion and all that stuff you didn’t plan on. We’ve added a cool new enticement (a video greeting from me to your loved one on a special occasion), and for those who still haven’t visited the site, there is still some pretty cool stuff, including rare, out-of-print LPs and cassettes—check it out! (For those of you who have pledged, you’ll be getting exclusive behind-the-scenes from Nashville, including rough mixes and session pictures.)

And for those of you in the Boston area (or who have a computer or smartphone) I’ll be on WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio” 89.7fm, this Friday at 12:30 PM Eastern, with hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan. Give a listen.

No shows coming up, just recording sessions next week. Send positive energy!

All the best,


Tom Rush

One more scattered thought: It came to me in a vision—why not open up Central Park to logging, oil and gas extraction? It breaks my greedy little heart, seeing all those trees just standing there, going to waste. The Boston Common? Why not? These are, from a certain point of view, wasted resources! I’m just sayin’ …

Not all Chinese Cresteds are ugly!

Not all Chinese Cresteds are ugly!

Not all Chinese Cresteds are ugly!
Not all Chinese Cresteds are ugly!

 

Tom has been name-dropped again, this time in a recent New York Times article about the surprising genetic ancestry of some dog breeds. Those of you that have been following Tom’s work will recall his stories about walking his families two Chinese Crested puppies on retractable leads while they were living in the ‘Big Dog’ town of Moose Wyoming. This story was the inspiration behind his 2003 album titled “Trolling for Owls”. Apparently, there’s no longer any need for any embarrassment, as they can trace their heritage a full 10,000 in the Americas!

 

 

Read the full article at:

Some Surprising Dog Breeds Have Ancient American Heritage
New York Times: Some Surprising Dog Breeds Have Ancient American Heritage

You guys are amazing! – April 22, 2017

You guys are amazing! – April 22, 2017

Gang,

You guys are amazing! Two weeks into a 10-week campaign on Pledge Music, we’re 83% of the way to our goal. (P. M. says they like to see their campaigns reach 25% in the first week—we got there in the first 2 hours! So some very special thanks to you first responders.)

I don’t want to get all gooshy on you or anything, but it really does mean a lot to me that you have stuck with me over the years, through a lot of adventures (and, admittedly, a mis-adventures or two). I was asked recently, “Why are you still doing this?” (I think he meant in the nicest way, but he might have been saying, “Where’s Jack Kevorkian when we really need him?”) The honest reason I’m still at it is that making music for you guys is still a thrill for me—I’ll keep at it as long as you keep listening. You make me feel good!

As a way to entice you back to PledgeMusic (or maybe get you there for the first time) we’ve added a couple of things. While rummaging about in a storage locker I happened upon a box of cassettes from years gone by. (One of these, “Work In Progress,” never made it on to any other format, others have been out of print for decades.) I have not yet found the mother lode of wax cylinders or 8-track tapes, but will continue to search.

I’ve now used up my allotment of exclamation points and parentheses, so I’ll close by mentioning that I have four upcoming dates, so check them out on the shows page. As usual, if you can’t attend, send a friend.

Thanks again, gang. Enjoy the Spring …


Tom Rush

Quote of the month:

“People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”
–– Maya Angelou

New album campaign launches!! – April 7, 2017

New album campaign launches!! – April 7, 2017

Gang,

Tom Rush here. I’m getting in touch because over the years you’ve helped me and my extended musical family to put together some really wonderful projects. Together we celebrated my 50th year on stage at Boston’s Symphony Hall and completed the film Love of the Music: The Club 47 Folk Revival. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you may have already heard, but I’ve got a new project on the burner that I hope you’ll find compelling.

I’ve got almost enough self-penned songs assembled to make an entire album. This has never happened before! (I’ve always done a mix of my own and other people’s songs, mainly because I’m lazy and don’t get around to writing as much as I know I should.) The muse has been visiting a lot over the past couple of years, and I’ve been trying the songs on audiences who were very enthusiastic about them. So I’ve taken the leap and booked studio time in Nashville in early May.

So here’s where I need your help. In olden times, the Big Record Company would front the costs of recording in exchange for a lien on your soul and at least one kidney. Nowadays, thanks to the magic of the interwebs, an artist can go directly to the audience and, basically, pre-sell the CD (and a fabulous array of other stuff), not cede control over the process to a bunch of guys in suits, and retain control of soul and internal organs.

Pledge Music is the platform of choice these days, and our page is the aforementioned PledgeMusic.com/TomRush. We had a lot of fun putting together the list of enticements (the new music, of course, but also rare/collectable stuff, stuff that makes sense, and some stuff that is just plain stupid). Check it out!

And don’t forget to peruse the list of upcoming gigs below—coming to shows is the other best way to support an artist!

 

Happy Spring (if it ever gets here),


Tom Rush

 

 

Launch of a New Album campaign!!

Launch of a New Album campaign!!

Gang –

The muse has been visiting a lot lately, and I’m going down to Nashville in early May to record a new album of self-penned songs (this has never happened before—I’ve always done a mix of other people’s material and a few of my own). In olden times this would have been funded by a Big Record Company, and they would have wanted a lien on your soul and a second mortgage on your first-born son. (There might be a song in there!)

Nowadays, through the magic of PledgeMusic, a musician can ask the music-lovers to support the project—and that’s where you come in: I’m offering a dazzling array of enticements, from a monogrammed guitar pick to a private concert, to motivate you to get involved.

So please take a moment to visit PledgeMusic to learn more, and check out the awesome lineup of extras for those that support the project.

Thanks so much for getting involved!


Tom Rush

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 Rush

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 Rush

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 Rush


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 Rush

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