Folk Music Legend Tom Rush: On The Road and Doing His Best Work

Feb 26, 2020

Tom Rush, courtesy
Credit photo courtesy of

Folk music legend Tom Rush is currently on tour, and he’s making a stop at the Lyric Theatre in Stuart on March 7.  (Music up)

Rush was first signed by the Elektra label in 1965… and according to Rolling Stone magazine, his album The Circle Game is what ushered in the singer/songwriter era.

Songwriter and musician James Taylor calls Tom Rush “one of his main influences.”

We got a chance to speak with Rush, and so here we ask who influenced your music?

TR: I heard some Josh White recordings that really turned me around… I was trying to be a rock n roll guy .. this was the late 50s when Elvis and Fats Domino and the Everly Brothers were semi-god like. I never heard guitar played like that, never heard songs played like that. And that is when I was introduced to folk music.

His love of folk music grew while he was at Harvard getting a degree in English literature…

TR: There was a huge folk community going on there. There was a little club called the Club 47 one block from my dorm room. A little tiny room but they would bring in the legends. And many of the old blues guys played there.

He laughs now thinking about it…

TR: All these Harvard kids sitting around, singing about how rough it was in the coal mine. I’d like to think we made up in sincerity what we lacked in authenticity.

We ask him to describe his show and he says…

TR: I think my show is a little oasis from all the problems in the world. The music is all over the lot. I do some funny songs. I do some sad songs. And I tell some stories.

His tour is called the First Annual Farewell Tour, a clear nod to the fact that he is not slowing down just yet. In fact, he just released a new album called Voices.

TR: Voices is I think my best work.

We ask what makes it the best?

TR: I think it’s the writing quality. I’ve started to relax. I’ve stopped trying to write songs that I think people will like and I just write whatever comes out. It’s more honest and I think people respond to that.

His favorite song on the album almost didn’t happen.

TR: I recorded this in Nashville with my old friend Jim Rooney producing…

Their last night there, they thought they had finished. Then Rooney said…

 TR: Wait! Wait! We’ve only got 11 songs! I thought we had 12. He was all bent out of shape and I said Jim, it’s ok. There’s no law. He said, but it’s customary!

Rush wrote it that night.

TR: And the result of that was If I never get back to Hackensack, it’ll be all right with me.

(music up)

Tom Rush is at the Lyric Theatre in Stuart on March 7 at 7 pm.

TR: I’ll be coming in with a young guy named Matt Nakoa. He is my accompanist but so much more. He will be doing some songs on his own. He is a monster talent.  

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