Tom Rush

Celebrates 50 Years of Music

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Rising out of the New England folk circuit in the 1960s, Tom Rush never put together a high-profile career, if indeed he ever even wanted one. He was never a prolific songwriter, although he wrote good songs, and he never released a lot of albums, although the ones he did put out were always solid, steady, and good. Rush's warm and slightly world-weary baritone and his deft acoustic guitar playing were his calling cards, and he had a knack for finding and interpreting songs by new songwriters (he was the first to track songs by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor, for instance). His live shows were quietly riveting, disarmingly casual, and wonderfully intimate. This set, which features a DVD and CD from a concert Rush organized at Boston Symphony Hall in December 2012 to celebrate his 50 years as a professional folk performer, shows that he's changed little, and if his voice is just a hair thinner than it was all those years ago, he's still a delightful singer. The set list, which also included guest and solo spots from David Bromberg, Jonathan Edwards, Buskin & Batteau, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops' Dom Flemons, features Rush standards like his solid versions of Sleepy John Estes' "Drop Down Mama," Joni Mitchell's "Urge for Going," David Wiffin's "Driving Wheel," and his own wonderful original song medley "No Regrets/Rockport Sunday," and Rush makes each song seem as dependable and solid as the earth itself, somehow mixing a wistful weariness in his voice with an underlying and unerring joyfulness, the same sort of thing he's been doing for half a century now. That he's still doing it as well as he ever has is a testament to his talent and character. He's never gone chasing after the gold ring of stardom and fame, and that he still isn't chasing it somehow makes this anniversary set all the more powerful.

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