An Evening With Bobby Rush

At 77-years-old, Bobby Rush continues to bring energy and innovation to the blues scene, as he remains a prolific songwriter and one of the most imperative live performers in the blues, able to execute audacious splits on stage with the finesse of a young James Brown, while singing and playing harmonica and guitar. Rush, born Emmett Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana, started playing in his early teens, changing his name out of respect for his preacher father and fronting, for a time, a band that featured a young Elmore James on guitar. In his 20s, Rush landed in the booming Chicago blues scene where he bumped up against Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and, most notably his back-alley neighbor, blues harmonica great Little Walter, whose example inspired Rush to master the instrument. In the ’80s, Rush relocated to his current home of Jackson, Mississippi, where he embarked on the hard-touring career that has earned him the title of “King of the Chitlin' Circuit,” the network of clubs, theaters, halls and juke joints that proliferated in the 1920’s to indulge black audiences in the days of segregation. With upwards of 100 albums under his belt, it is his unique style and unassailable raw talent that has secured him multiple Blues Music Awards including Soul Blues Album of the Year, Acoustic Album of the Year and Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year. While a bearer of tradition, Rush’s music maintains authenticity, garnering new audiences. Decisions, Rush’s latest effort, backed by funk band Blinddog Smokin' and featuring long-time friends Dr. John, Elmore James and Luther Allison, comes as Rush continues his late-career emergence from the chitlin’ circuit underground to music mainstream. Having previously been featured in the “Road to Memphis” segment of the Martin Scorcese documentary “The Blues,” Rush enjoyed perhaps the biggest success of his career last year with the GRAMMY-nominated record Down in Louisiana. Please join us for an evening with Bobby Rush.  After the interview, Rush will perform.