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Tom Rush performing, provided via John Lappen and taken by Michael Wiseman

Lifelong musician to perform in Pomeroy

For Tom Rush, being a musician is not only his profession, it is a lifestyle. A singer and guitarist, Rush has been in the music industry for close to six decades and does not seem to have any plans of slowing down.

Southeast Ohio residents will have the opportunity to see Rush perform this Saturday at Fur Peace Ranch, located at 39495 St. Clair Rd., in Pomeroy, Ohio. With the venue self-proclaimed as a “Mecca for guitar players,” Rush is excited to have the opportunity to play there again.

“I played at the Fur Peace Ranch every year,”  Rush said. “I think there’s a year or two (missing) because of Covid, but I can’t remember when I first started playing there. It would have been 12–15 years ago.”

Originally from Concord, New Hampshire, Rush grew up in Massachusetts. He went on to attend Harvard University and earned a degree in English literature. Rush admitted to not having a lot of intention of using that degree as a graduate.

“There’s no clear career path attached to an English lit degree, unless you want to be a teacher,” he said, laughing. “My dad was a teacher, and I couldn’t do that because I had to be a rebel.”

At that point, Rush already had experience with performing live, as well as developed a great love for music. With what started as a fascination with rock and roll from the late ‘50s, his interest evolved after coming across a very popular country blues and folk singer.

“I happened on a Josh White recording that totally changed my life because I had never heard a guitar played like that,” he said. “I had never heard a song like that, so I went off in the folk music direction.”

After coming to college, his interest in the genre only grew. 

“I got to Cambridge to go to college and there was a huge folk scene going on,” Rush said. “I got kind of caught up in it.”

He went on to host a radio show on the FM station show called “Balladeers” where he was able to have guests on as well as perform some of his music. Rush would also attend local open mics and even discovered a foolproof way of dodging the entry fee.

“I discovered you could get in for free if you had a guitar, and then I discovered you could get in for free if you had a guitar case,” he said, laughing as he reminisced. “I would put a six pack in the guitar case and head out to the woods.”

Rush detailed a time when he was caught for bringing in his own beverages and the owner told him he had ruined his chances of getting up on stage. Lucky for his future music career, Rush was able to get back on stage and did well enough that he was called back in to be a substitute folk singer.

“That was my first paying gig,” he said.

After graduation, Rush decided to pursue his music.

“I figured people are paying me now, not much, but they’re paying me to sing songs,” he said. “I’ll do this for a little while until I figure out what I want to do when I grow up. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.”

Rush went on to bounce to New York then back to New Hampshire. Overworked from the lifestyle of being a full-time musician. Rush said he worked for five years straight with only 10 days off in total. He decided to wind down and ended up purchasing a farm in his home state.

Now, Rush is based out of southern Maine. He has continued to do what he loves, playing and making music, and only took a break during a very brief retirement in 1975 that promptly ended six months after it had started. 

“I got bored and I missed playing,” he said. “I love playing for people.”

Rush’s discography is immense, totaling nearly 30 works. His last album, “Voices,” came out in 2018, and he is currently working on a new one.

“I am all excited because I think this is going to be by far my best work yet,” he said.

Rush explained that the album will contain songs he had written decades ago that he recently rediscovered.

In addition to his album, Rush’s days are consumed with the 60-70 performances he does a year as well as a weekly-online series he does called “Rockport Sundays” where every Sunday he posts a video featuring him and a guest singing and discussing a variety of topics.

There is no doubt that Rush’s career has been immense. He has been featured in Rolling Stone, and country star Garth Brooks even named Tom Rush as being one of his biggest influences in music.

Despite all this, Rush said his one true love is still connecting with his audiences.

“People don't want perfection, they want connection,” he said.

Accompanied by Matt Nakoa, Rush will perform from 7-10:30 p.m. as the season opener of 2023 for Fur Peace Ranch. All interested parties can purchase tickets here.


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