Saturday, March 29, 2008


Last night myself and my wife went to a concert that for me was 40 years in the making. Until I heard last November that Tom Rush was coming to Muskegon he was just one on a long list of performers that I figured I'd never be fortunate enough to see perform live, but when I got the newsletter and the concert listing had a Muskegon date on it I was stoked. Once the date was official and tickets went on sale I went to the box office and with a bit of fanagalin' I got front row, center seats! Once I had the tickets it was just a matter of waiting two months or so for March 28th to roll around.
Yesterday I left work early, came home and grabbed the wife and then headed up to Muskegon and El Caminoes for a good meal. After dinner we drove downtown, parked the truck right next to the theatre and went inside. Just as further evidence that I haven't grown up (as if anyone needed more evidence) I had brought along a couple old Tom Rush record jackets (The Circle Game and Tom Rush) with the intention of course of getting the man to sign 'em for me. I had been in contact with him several times since November and he was kind enough to humor me and return my emails. The last one telling me to bring the albums along and meet him at intermission. So, there you go.
Along with that bit of immaturity I also struck up a conversation with the old gentleman handing out the "will Call" tickets while the wife was making a bathroom trip and after a couple minutes of coaxing he went over and took one of the Tom Rush posters off the wall and gave it to me to put in my bag. Thank you sir!
Not long after that the doors opened and we headed for our seats in the front row :-) A couple minutes past 7:30 the gentleman responsible for promoting the concert gave a small talk and then an introduction and Tom walked out on the stage with his cowboy boots and a guitar. For the next 2 1/2 hours, except for a short intermission, he played and sang and told wonderful stories and jokes. He had the whole place laughing and at one point during the encore even singing along with him. Pretty big deal when you figure that even at my age I was one of the younger ones there.
Our seats were smack in front of him and had we been much closer we'd have been sitting on his feet. It was almost like sitting around the campfire.....After about an hour of music and stories there was an intermission so I took my album covers and the wife and headed for the lobby. While she was doing the bathroom thing I hung out and kept my eyes open and sure enough Tom came walking out right where I was standing. So I said "Mr. Rush, I'm Michigan Tom and it's a long overdue pleasure to meet you" He gave a big smile and took the album covers and graciously signed both of them for me plus I had him sign the concert bill too which was pretty cool. We talked for a couple minutes and the wife got to meet him too before I said thanks and let other folks have their turn.
The second half of the show was just as great as the first. I had asked him during intermission that if there was time would he play No Regrets and Rockport Sunday, two of my favorites from The Circle Game and about halfway thru the set he started picking familiar notes and played a great rendition of No Regrets which went directly into Rockport Sunday. I was a happy camper at that point and hated to see the night come to an end. He did a two song encore, got a standing ovation and then he was gone and it was over. I had a great time and the wife seemed to enjoy herself. She didn't know much of anything about Tom Rush before this started so I made her a CD so she could get some time in and hopefully that helped.
I would've liked to have stuck around and maybe talked to him again for a bit but that would've bordered on groupyism so I did the mature thing and headed out the door, very pleased that I got to hear another of my heroes play and sing live.
Here's a couple albums to give you a taste of the width and breath of the man. If you like what you hear go to his website and buy the rest of his stuff. It's all good and if you get a chance to see him live I'd do it if I were you. It'll be a good time and well worth the money.

Duncan And Brady
I Don't Want Your Millions Mister
San Francisco Bay Blues
Mole's Moan
Rye Whiskey
Big Fat Woman
Nine Pound Hammer
Diamond Joe
Mobile-Texas Line
Joe Turner
Every Day In The Week
Alabama Bound
More Pretty Girls
Sister Kate
Original Talking Blues
Pallet On The Floor
Drop Down Mama
Rag Mama
Barb'ry Allen
Classic Blues/Folk, June 13, 2000
A. Everett Logan (New England, USA) - (Amazon Customer Review)
This is a combination CD made from the original LPs "Got a Mind to Ramble" and "Blues, Songs, Ballads." An excellent example of the blues/folk revival of the early 1960s. The singing, guitar, and washtub bass are great. The only thing that keeps me from giving it five stars is that they left off the gospel classic "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" that was on the original "Got a Mind to Ramble" LP. But, it's still one of the best albums out there, and more than worth the price!


Sings and plays his way into your memory, for good!, July 2, 2002
Phil Rogers (Ann Arbor, Michigan) - (Amazon Customer Review)

Yep, this is definitely one of the best of the best. And it's just Tom, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, backed up by [who was it?], Mitch or Bruce somebody or other on gut bucket, also known as washtub bass. Tom was young at the time he made this, but sounds like a real old-timer. At the time these two albums were made, he was one of the main characters in the Cambridge (Mass.) folk revival, along with the Baez sisters, Jackie Washington, Eric Von Schmidt, Debbie Green. Eric Andersen, and the like.
This one starts out like a gunshot with "Duncan and Brady", and basically never lets up. Rush mixes pathos and humor and plenty of other assorted moods and reveries. The fellow can sing and play with the best of them. Check out the wonderful slide guitar playing on "Rye Whiskey". And he almost chews/ruminates on his words, with his terrific sounding, relaxed baritone voice. When he tells (sings) a story, you get lost in the believability of it. It's awesome, really.
As of 3-4 years ago, Rush was still tremendous in concert, and his banter and joke telling are as good as his playing and singing. He can be truly hilarious, make you nearly fall off your seat a' laughing. I'd say he's as good a showman and interpreter of old tunes as Michael Cooney, but that's a tough contest given the fact that they inhabit somewhat different (though not too) emotional dimensions.

READ THIS for more information on this album.

Driving Wheel
Rainy Day Man
Drop Down Mama
Old Man's Song
These Days
Wild Child
Colors Of The Sun
Livin' In The Country
Child's Song


Classic Tom Rush For The True Folk Fan!, August 5, 2000
Barron Laycock "Labradorman" (Temple, New Hampshire United States) - (Amazon Customer Review)

No one is a more masterful or powerful interpreter of other artists' music than Tom Rush. In this album he showcases these talents to advantage from the opening bars of his signature "Driving Wheel" to "Drop Down Mama" to the subtly ironic "Living In The Country". He is at his best with songs like Jackson's Browne's "These Days" or "Colors Of The Sun", and I have always loved his version of "Child's Song" as well as "old Man's Song". He is the only one other than James Taylor that I like to hear sing Taylor songs, and his version of "Rainy Day Man" is really quite different from Taylor's. Rush has a voice and guitar style that's distinct, well developed, and always used to performing advantage. Trevor Veitch, a wonderful acoustic and electric guitarist, backs him here and the arrangements help to make this a classic folk album. Try this one out, folks; I think you will wind up agreeing it is a keeper, and a nice alternative to all that trash now on your local FM station. Ah, remember when FM rocked? Enjoy!


READ THIS for more information about this album.

...And here's a couple of Videos of Tom doing two of my very favorite tunes of his, Joni Mitchell's "Urge For Going" and his Own "No Regrets". Keep in mind when viewing these that the man is in his mid 60's now and still out there playing and singing and having a darn good time doing it. Enjoy.

Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley MA on 30-Nov 2007

Humphreys By The Bay, San Diego, CA


Blogger whiteray said...

Sounds like it wa a great time -- I was wondering how it went. Good stuff all around.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 11:12:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'Tom Rush' album: exquisite! Thank you, MF.

Monday, March 31, 2008 at 3:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Conspiracy Theologian said...

Just found your site thanks to Camarillo Brillo. Looking forward to checking these artists out.

Great work, excellent detail, your love for the music shows!


Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 10:18:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has been 30 years since I have heard anything from Tom Rush. I did not know he even toured anymore. I have kept two of his albums in pristene condition, Wrong End Of The Rainbow and Rainy Day Men. Loved hearing him again on this site. Thank you for posting him.

Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 11:46:00 PM EDT  

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