After 40 Years, Tom Rush Still Top Notch

Tom RushMichael Wiseman - Tom Rush

Tom Rush celebrated his 50 years as a singer/songwriter at Symphony Hall in December, with a star-studded cast of fellow folk musicians. This week he is performing on the Cape, and if his winter concert in Boston is any indication, “It’s gonna get Hot Tonight”—to quote his opening song at Symphony Hall—Saturday at the Payomet Performing Arts Center in Truro.

Tom Rush has a strong and loyal following, many from the days when he was a Harvard undergraduate and performed at Club 47 in Harvard Square. By the time he graduated, he had released two albums. In 1968 he recorded the album, “The Circle Game,” highlighting then-unknown singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell’s song. That album also contained Mitchell’s “Urge for Going,” Rush’s “No Regrets,” and songs written by James Taylor and Jackson Browne.

James Taylor told Rolling Stone magazine that “Tom was not only one of my early heroes, but also one of my main influences.” Taylor, Mitchell and Browne were not the only artists that Rush championed. Nanci Griffith, Shawn Colvin and Alison Krauss were helped in their careers by their association with Rush. At the December concert in Boston, Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops took the stage with a seasoned group of folk singers, another rising young musician brought to a national audience by Rush.

A New Hampshire native, Rush lives in Vermont and still loves to perform. On his website, he said he welcomed the end of his six-week vacation so he could get back on tour.

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He is now 72, and his voice still comforts and charms. His version of Murray McLauchlan’s “Child Song,” about a young man leaving home, is always emotionally moving. And the version of “No Regrets” that he performed at Symphony Hall is enhanced by several minutes of his extraordinary guitar playing—“a medley of my greatest hit,” he calls it.

The show at Payomet Performing Arts Center at 29 Old Dewline Road in North Truro starts at 8 PM; for tickets, visit payomet.org/event/tom-rush. Tom Rush will also perform Friday at 8 PM at Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River; for tickets see tickets.narrowscenter.org.

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