"Tom was not only one of my early heroes, but also one of my main influences." - James Taylor
His distinctive guitar style, wry humor and warm, expressive voice have made Tom Rush a legend and a lure to audiences around the world. His shows are filled with the rib-aching laughter of terrific story-telling, the sweet melancholy of ballads and the passion of gritty blues. On Saturday, Sept. 29, fans will have the the rare opportunity to see Tom perform in Southern Vermont at The Bennington Center for the Arts just west of Bennington.
Many are familiar with Rush’s impact on the American music scene as it has been profound. He helped shape the folk revival in the ‘60s and the renaissance of the ‘80s and ‘90s, his music having left its stamp on generations of artists. Country music star Garth Brooks has credited Rush with being one of his top five musical influences.
Tom Rush began his musical career in the early ‘60s playing the Boston-area clubs while a Harvard student. The Club 47 was the flagship of the coffee house fleet, and he was soon holding down a weekly spot there, learning from the legendary artists who came to play, honing his skills and growing into his talent. He had released two albums by the time he graduated.
In the early ‘70s, folk turned to folk-rock, and Rush, ever adaptable, saw more room to stretch out.
He instinctively knew that his listeners were interested in both the old and the new, and set out to create a musical forum - like the Club 47 of the early ‘60s - to allow established artists and newcomers to share the same stage.
In 1982, he tried it out at Symphony Hall. The show was such a hit it became an annual event, growing to fill two, then three nights, and the Club 47 series was born. Crafting concerts that combined well known artists such as Bonnie Raitt or Emmylou Harris with (then) unknowns like Alison Krauss or Mark O’ Connor, Rush took the show on the road. From the ‘80s to the present day, Club 47 events have filled the nation’s finest halls to rave reviews, and have been broadcast as national specials on PBS and NPR.
In 1999, Columbia/Legacy released a Tom Rush retrospective album that covers his recorded musical history from 1962 to the present, including tracks recorded for Columbia, Elektra, Prestige and his independent years. Entitled "The Very Best of Tom Rush: No Regrets", the 17-track compilation includes as a bonus a brand new Tom Rush composition, "River Song," which features vocal contributions from Grammy winners Shawn Colvin and Marc Cohn.
Rush has long championed emerging artists. His early recordings introduced the world to the work of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and James Taylor, and in more recent years his Club 47 concerts have brought artists such as Nanci Griffith and Shawn Colvin to wider audiences when they were just beginning to build their own reputations. Club 47 events have filled the nation’s finest halls to rave reviews, and have been broadcast as national specials on PBS and NPR.
Today, Tom Rush lives in Vermont when he’s not touring. His voice has grown even richer and more melodic with training, and his music, like a fine wine, has matured and ripened in the blending of traditional and modern influences. He’s doing what he loves, and what audiences love him for: writing and playing . . . passionately, tenderly. . . knitting together the musical traditions and talents of our times.
For info or to purchase tickets in advance: 802-442-7158, www.TheBennington.org.