December 22, 2014
I want to wish you all very happy holidays and a marvelous New Year. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your sticking with me over the years, coming to the shows, listening to the recordings, reading the newsletters. Someone asked me recently when I planned to retire – I don’t think they were hinting or anything. The answer is, as long as I can have fun doing it and you keep showing up, I’ll keep on keeping on.
On a helpful note, if you’re just stuck for that last minute Christmas gift — DON’T buy the Chia Pet!! Just say NO!! I can sincerely say that the upcoming Symphony Hall show on Sunday, the 28th, will be a musical night to remember — some of the best young talent in the world, Red Molly, Grace Kelly, Monica Rizzio — soaring harmonies, hot instrumentals, old and new songs, all in one of the world’s premiere concert halls set up cabaret-style — and tickets are just a mouse-click away. Also, the brand new video documentary on yours truly, “Tom Rush – No Regrets,” is available at the web store AND at the Symphony Box Office. These are so much classier than that Chia pet, and you don’t have to water them!!
And here’s a present for YOU, a secret link to a secret page on YouTube. I premiered this song at last year’s SH show and have been tweaking it since. Hope you enjoy it!
Stay warm, Gang, and thank you, too!It’s that time of year when I thank all the good folks who keep me up and running. Dan Beach keeps the website humming and gets the newsletters out, but also gives me good advice which I actually take most of the time. (When I don’t I usually regret it.) Rob Stegman and Todd Kwait have labored long, hard and to good effect putting together the video documentaryAND producing this Symphony Hall show. Thank you, gentlemen, for all you do. Mr. Tim Burke has kept the vending operation running smoothly for lo, these many years and I greatly appreciate the time and effort he’s put in. Andrea Sabata, Katy Cates, Crandall Rogers and all the jolly crew at Skyline Music, my booking agency, keep me gainfully employed, for which I am eternally grateful.
All the best,br>
Quote of the month:
“No one ever pretended that shopping for anything is a rational experience. If it were, would there be Fluffernutter? Laceless sneakers? Porkpie hats? Would the Chia Pet even exist?”
–– Jeffrey Kluger
Tom joins Anthony Brooks and Lisa Mullins on WBUR Boston and shares his new song “Voices” in promotion for the upcoming Club 47 show at Boston Symphony Hall.
December 11, 2014
I hope the New Englanders among you have survived the nor’easter in style and comfort. Aside from a few leaks in the house we are warm and dry.
But right now there is a red squirrel sitting outside the kitchen window yelling at me. I spend my mornings sitting at the kitchen table, trying to write songs, taking care of this and that, because my office is too piled with stacks of very important documents to be a good work environment.
[ see larger version]
So I’m sitting here, lost in thought, trying to figure out what the Muse is trying to tell me, or whether I’m even talking to my Muse. Maybe it’s somebody else’s Muse, whispering to me through the ether. Maybe it’s a wrong number and she’s just trying to order a pizza or something — it’s always so hard to tell. Anyway, this squirrel rouses me from my reverie. He’s sitting on the window ledge, staring at me, looking annoyed and chattering away in a very imperious tone. Seeing that he’s got my attention, he stops his scolding and gives a rather pointed glance toward the birdfeeder. It’s empty. He’s ticked off because the birdfeeder’s empty. He’s accustomed to a better level of service.
I roar at him, giving him my very best “I’m a big hairy monster and I’m going to come out there and gobble you up,” kind of roar. He doesn’t even flinch. I try again, this time actually articulating, “I’m a big hairy monster,” and so forth. He looks at me with this “Give me a break,” kind of look and starts chattering again. “Get lost,” I explained. “You’re a Republican, aren’t you?” he demanded. It sounded like an accusation. Now he was making me mad. “Politics have nothing to do with it,” I said firmly, “this is a bird feeder, not a squirrel feeder. You are a squirrel, not a bird. Case closed.” “I am an American squirrel,” he said haughtily, “900th generation. These birdy friends of yours are mostly aliens. Canadians, for Pete’s sake. Migrants. They’re not even going to stay in the country.”
I was, I admit, somewhat taken aback. “But,” I protested, “they have a long journey. They need my help.” “Ha!” he retorted, “They’re richer than you are. They’re headed for their winter homes in the Caribbean. Do you have a winter home in the Caribbean?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “I didn’t think so. So you’re willing to give handouts to these millionaires who are moving their assets overseas, but not to a hard-working American squirrel who’s down on his luck. Republican!”
“Now you’re making me mad, Red,” I said evenly. “If you don’t back off I’m going to go get the 12 gauge. “Ooooh, the 12 gauge,” he taunted. “A Republican for sure. Arms spending way out of line with your actual needs. A .22 single-shot would be plenty to bully around a poor little innocent squirrel like me, but no, you think you have to impress me with the mighty 12 gauge. Overkill, if you’ll pardon the expression. Deep-seated worries about inadequacy, I’d say.” “Now hold on just a darned minute,” I sputtered, “this is ridiculous. You’re a squirrel. Go get a job – do whatever it is that squirrels do to make a living. You don’t need handouts from me.”
Tom in the studio recording”Voices”
Photo ©2014, Neale Eckstein
He shook his head sadly. “Listen, Tom,” he said, “may I call you Tom? Listen, it was a bad year for pinecones, and the acorns … well, you could call it crop failure. The ecology’s the worst it’s been in generations. I’m not asking for a handout, but I think we should be thinking in terms of a safety net here. Think of it as the rich pitching in to support squirrels, American squirrels, who are less fortunate.”
I asked the Muse if I could get back to her in a few minutes. She said no, she had a bunch of really good ideas but if I was too busy she’d just go give them to Arlo. I shuffled off to get the sunflower seed, thinking that self-loathing in some circumstances is entirely warranted.
I’ve put up another new song on YouTube, just for you, entitled — appropriately enough in this context — “Voices.” I’m very much looking forward to doing this one at Symphony Hall on the 28th with some other voices. This is a secret page – just for folks on the email list.
This will, I hope, be a very romantic evening — candles on the tables, lots of love songs and good company. Bring your honey, bring your buddy. What better holiday gift could there be than an evening of music in one of the world’s premier concert halls? (And don’t forget the newvideo documentary – a perfect companion gift!) Am I being too subtle, I wonder?
Some upcoming radio appearances are listed below. Stay warm, stay dry, and thanks for reading!
All the best,br>
Quote of the month: “You can’t be friends with a squirrel! A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit.” – Sarah Jessica Parker
Upcoming radio shows:
Sunday, Dec 14, 6 pm – New Hampshire Public Radio – Kate McNally’s Folk Show
Tuesday, Dec 16, 1:15 pm – WMBR (Boston) 88.1 fm – Lost and Found with Eli Polansky
Wednesday, Dec 17, 3:30 pm – WBUR (Boston) 90.9 fm
December 5, 2014
At a big box store recently I saw that, along with the usual birdfeeders on display, they had a deer-feeder for sale. It was a large contraption that dispensed kernels of dried corn. “Well, isn’t that sweet?” I thought, skipping over the question of whether we maybe have enough deer already, perhaps even a surfeit by some reckonings. Then, upon closer inspection, I saw that this warm and cuddly contraption was made by the Remington Company, and that the feed bags were from a brand named “Record Rack.” I can tell you – I was disillusioned. Next they’re going to be telling me there is no Santa Claus and trying to sell me reindeer venison!
Tom And Matt Nakoa in the studio recording a “secret” YouTube song – December 3, 2014
Photo ©2014, Neale Eckstein
The Symphony Hall show is moving along well – I’m working with the other artists on possible collaborations. I’ve got some new songs to play for you and, in order to share them with my guests (Red Molly, Grace Kelly and Monica Rizzio) and the house band I went into a studio yesterday and did simple recordings – just me and a young keyboardist named Matt Nakoa, who happened to be in the building and volunteered his services. I’m putting up one of the songs on a secret YouTube page, for your listening pleasure. You can ONLY get there with this link: http://youtu.be/lVDkGd41Oc0. This is a song called “Life Is Fine,” and I can’t wait to hear it with Red Molly’s harmonies and Monica Rizzio’s fiddle!
In other news, the video documentary is flying off the shelves at TomRush.com – Christmas is just around the corner, after all! We’ve now set up a deal at the Symphony Hall box office so you can buy the DVD there along with tickets to the show.This may, by the way, be the last of these Symphony Hall shows for a while. For reasons having to do with the Hall’s logistics, the 28th is the only date that works. This year it’s a Sunday, but next year it’s a Monday, then a Tuesday, and so forth – so we may be on hiatus for a few years.
And I’m going to be on the radio a bunch in the coming weeks, fanning the flames, beating the drum, sometimes both at once. A list of those appearances is below. A lot of these stations also stream live, so you may well be able to listen in from Topeka, or Barcelona, San Quentin – or wherever you happen to be.
Upcoming shows this weekend:
Friday, 12/5, One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME (guitar wizard Eric Lilljequist will be backing me up, and I’m told a certain Jonathan Edwards might be stopping by).
Saturday, 12/6, The Bull Run in Shirley, MA, my annual get-together with Dean Adrien and the aforementioned Eric Lilljequist.
Sunday, 12/7, The Flying Goose in New London, NH, 2 shows, 3 and 8PM, both sold out, but it might be worth a call. In my experience “Sold Out” is a bit of a squishy concept.
Gotta get back to filling the birdfeeders. Thanks for reading!
All the best,br>
Quote of the month:
“I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.”
–– Ellen DeGeneres
Upcoming radio shows:
Thur Dec 11 – 1pm – WGBH Boston Public Radio with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan
November 22, 2014
In other big news …In late breaking news, a list of things that are bad for dogs is making the rounds on the interwebs. Gin is right there near the top. Next to Avocados. So the G&T and guacamole are no longer on the menu, sorry Fido! This of course raises questions: was this study funded by the Bourbon Advisory Board? And it leaves open the issue of whether a dry Pino Grigio would be a better choice to go with kibble and Papaya.
We are hereby announcing a Symphony Hall show at 7:30 PM on Sunday, December 28, just in time to make your holiday shopping list! These shows have been so much fun I just couldn’t NOT do another one. They seem to provide an antidote to, and a refuge from, the frantic tail-chasing that seems to consume us every holiday season. “Not just another thing to be returned to the mall,” as one correspondent wrote, “but an experience to be savored.” People come to have a good time – and they do. The Globe called one of my first shows there, “A magical, precious night,” setting a high bar for me, one I hope I’ve cleared every year since.
This year I’m going to shoulder out more stage time for myself. I have a clutch of new songs, incubated over the summer, hatched and ready to fledge. I’d love to introduce them to you, and I thought Symphony Hall would be the perfect place from which to launch them. A mystical song, a western drama, some love songs – we’ll see how they fly.
I’m putting together an extra-special backup band for the occasion, including the astounding vocal trio Red Molly; Monica Rizzio, front-woman for Tripping Lilly, on fiddle; and the prodigiously-talented Grace Kelly on sax. These artists, besides making me sound better than usual, will step out for a song or two (or three) on their own. My stalwart core band — Joe Mennonna on piano and sax, Paul Guzzone on bass and Marshal Rosenberg on percussion — will of course be on stage with me.
The Symphony Hall show will also be the Release Party for the video documentary on me that Todd Kwait and Rob Stegman have been laboring on for the past few years, “Tom Rush- No Regrets.” It’s been shown in various iterations at festivals (it took Best NH Documentary at the NH Film Fest) and screenings around New England, and it’s been tweaked and tucked and is finally final, pressed onto shiny DVDs and ready to go. (It won’t be out in the marketplace until early next year, but you, because you’re special, can get a copy or two online at TomRush.com.
And one more thing: we got a late start announcing the show. I would sure welcome your help if you felt inclined to post any of this on Facebook (or Tumblr – Tweeting is also encouraged) or forward this note on to your buddies. Many thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and be grateful you don’t live in Buffalo!
All the best,br>
Quote of the month:
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
–– Robert A. Heinlein
November 7, 2014
Problem solved! I mentioned in my last missive that I was shrinking at a rate that, if it kept up apace, would have me disappearing altogether in 350 years. Desperation is the mother of invention (or something like that) and I’ve come up with a plan. If I eat copious amounts of chocolate and gain in girth what I’m losing in height, disaster can be averted. I’ve already begun — it seems to be working.
But there’s a new problem (it always works that way, doesn’t it?). Logic dictates that in 350 years, when my height has been squished down to zero, my waistline will necessarily have been squashed out to infinity. (I will not exist at all vertically, but will be infinite in the horizontal plane, which presents the question — can infinity be the same thing as zero?) This may 1) entail the destruction of the observable universe (hey … I’m sorry, OK?), or 2) nobody will even notice. In any event it will make it damned near impossible to get a seat on an airplane.
We all have plenty of time to get ready, so let’s focus on the near future:
The video documentary on yours truly, “Tom Rush — No Regrets,” is almost ready for release. For those of you in the greater Danbury, CT, area, there will be a screening Friday night, the 7th (tonight), at the Palace Theatre (you know it’s a classy joint because they spell it that way). Curtain’s at 8:00PM, but there’s a complimentary wine and cheese reception in the lobby starting at 7:00. Rob Stegman, the co-director and co-producer, and I will be there for a Q&A session after the movie, and maybe a couple of songs. (I’ll do the songs — Rob doesn’t sing as much as he ought to.)
Thursday the 13th it’s back to CT for the Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk, a great venue with a LOT of history. Built in 1883 and exquisitely renovated, it’s reputedly haunted by a ghost named Vivian. I always dedicate a song to her, just to be on the safe side. Guitar wizard Adrian Legg is also on the bill and I’m hoping he’ll teach me a couple of licks.
Friday, the 14th will be the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA, (also a very classy joint, the spelling notwithstanding). One of my favorite stops; I only get there every few years, so it will be great to catch up with my Pennsylvania buddies.
And Sunday, the 15th I’ll be back at the First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn, NY, an absolutely stunning piece of architecture that also has great acoustics. (And I’ll get to tell my Unitarian joke!)
And we’re ON for Symphony Hall in Boston, Sunday, December 28 — mark your calendars. I’m not quite ready to announce who my guests will be, but I guarantee a night to remember! (Tickets are not yet available)
Thanks for reading. Get your firewood in, or head south.
All the best,br>
Link of the month: Doctors Without Borders seems to be one organization that’s addressing the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in an effective way. It’s in all our interests to support them every way we can! http://www.
October 5, 2014
I’ve never been one to be left behind by the latest trends in show business. Nude pictures of me were stolen from the Cloud last week!! In this case, however, they were quickly returned along with some crude and rather uncharitable comments. Such is life. (They were taken when I was two, but still ….)
In other news, I had a routine doctor’s appointment the other day; the nurse measured me and informed me that I’d shrunk two inches. (In height, for God’s sake. You should be ashamed of yourself!) This was alarming news. Mind you, this is over a 10-year period, but it’s still upsetting. And don’t try to comfort me with talk about my towering intellect. (You were going to say something like that, weren’t you?)
When I was a lad being six feet tall made you a big guy. With kids now it’s on the short side of medium, so I am becoming ever more shrimp-like. But what’s truly alarming is that, according to my calculations, if this trend continues in 350 years I will have disappeared altogether! That’s just not something I can live with.
I will assuage my angst with travel. There’s nothing like being crammed into a hermetically sealed aluminum tube with hundreds of strangers, then hurtled through the stratosphere at near the speed of sound to give you a sense of calm and wellbeing.
Before I tell you about the upcoming gigs, a final note: I’ve been tapped to play at several college and school reunions this coming spring. I’m very much looking forward, because reunion crowds definitely know how to have a good time, and that’s a flow I can go with. If you happen to be on the Entertainment Committee, I’m throwing my hat in the ring!
Next Wednesday, the 8th, I’ll be at the fabulous Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. I’ve played MIM once before and it is truly a GREAT venue (and museum)!
Thursday the 9th will be the always-welcoming Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, one of my favorite West Coast stops.
On Friday the 10th we start getting into new territory: The City Winery, a sparkling new venue in Napa, CA. I’ve played their New York City room and it was fabulous!
Saturday will be the Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station, CA. I’ve not been there before, but from the website and the scuttlebutt it is a very happening place.
Last, but far from least, Harlow’s in Sacramento &emdash; another new stop for me, one to which I’m really looking forward.
Thanks for reading. Hope to see you down the road real soon!
All the best,br>
Quote of the month:
“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.”
–– Mark Twain
July 16, 2014
Why is it that all our viruses and bacteria make us sick and miserable? I know, of course, that at any given moment we each happily coexist with some 5 pounds of benign bacteria who are either helping us out or just along for the ride. But my question is: why hasn’t good old Mother Nature come up with a bug that makes us feel good with no downside? It would be very adaptive, as they say in biological circles. Everybody would want to catch that infection; that particular bacterium would be very much in demand, a superstar among single-celled organisms.
Now, individually these little one-celled or no-celled organisms (or whatever describes a virus, which isn’t even technically alive) aren’t very smart because, you see, they have no brains. But collectively they can be fiendishly clever, outsmarting entire pharmaceutical conglomerates staffed with geniuses. Phalanxes of doctors are helpless battling with these little demons, who are way too small to even see. Now, I know they don’t subscribe to my newsletter and most of them can’t even read (the bacteria, not the doctors), so I’m jut putting this idea out there, hoping that it might somehow get through:It could be argued, of course, that yeast already occupy that niche and have us working for them simply by providing bread and alcohol—a simpler but arguably more cost-effective version of the bread and circuses that the Roman emperors employed to keep the masses in line. But I still think there is room for a bacterium delirium that would simply make us feel better instead of worse. Making us sick would seem like a really dumb survival strategy—the unwelcome houseguest gambit. If you want to be invited to stick around you bring presents and make yourself useful. But most of these little buggers bring garbage and make unreasonable demands.
Mother Nature, if you’re listening, I think a feel-good bug would be a big hit, and I’d like you to send me some as soon as they’re ready.
Tomorrow night, Thursday July 17th: Natick, MA, Center for the Arts Natick (TCAN for short).
Friday the 18th: The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate for short)
Saturday the 19th: back to TCAN (see above)
Monday the 21st: Music on the River, Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, CT. FREE SHOW outdoors at 6:30 (with an indoor backup location in case of rain).
Come if you can, if not send a friend. Summer’s happening – let’s have some fun!
All the best,br>
Quote of the month:
“A sad soul can kill you quicker, much quicker, than any germ.”
–– Henry David Thoreau
June 22, 2014
A fellow recently sent me an email about his aged cat who had stopped eating and was losing weight. The vet told him the problem was dementia. My initial reaction was to feel sorry for the poor beast and its owner. (Actually “owner” is not right. It is truly said that dogs have owners, cats have staff.)
But then the thunderbolt hit. “Eureka!” I cried, “I’m rich!” Fad diets have for the past hundred years been making their promoters obscenely wealthy, at least up to the point where they are discredited and sent to jail, or have to change their names and leave the country. Dementia-Slim™ is in development as I write this and the boys in the lab are working around the clock to find a way of inducing a slenderizing dementia that does not involve getting old, ingesting illegal substances or having a teenage daughter. (It’s rumored that the Don’t-Eat-So-Much diet is surprisingly effective, but it’s never really caught on.)
In other news, we still haven’t settled on a place to settle, but are out and about looking at schools and communities in New England. (We truly appreciate all the generous, insightful responses to my last missive about finding a place, but none turned into a Plan of Action.) Stay tuned!
A Private Party in New York City on Thursday, June 26. (All I’ve been told so far is that “it’s in a restaurant.” I’m hoping they get more specific soon—I seem to recall that Manhattan has several restaurants and it might take a while to find the right one.)
Wolfeboro, NH, Great Waters Music Festival, Friday, June 27th. It’s gonna be great, but it’s sold out—sorry!
And best of all … the video documentary on me that’s been in the works of the past couple of years is finally ready for its coming-out party! (An early cut won Best NH Documentary at the NH Film Fest in Portsmouth last October, but now it’s really, really ready.) If you possibly can come by the Regent Theater in Arlington, MA on Saturday, June 28. The screening’s at 8PM followed by a few songs and a Q&A session with yours truly and the film makers, Todd Kwait and Rob Stegman This should be fun!
And enjoy the first days of Summer!
Quote of the month: “My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone.” – Anne Lamott
P.S. – I’m on the road for the next few weeks and may not be able to respond to any replies to this. Please forgive me! TR