Bobby Rush is both one of the most beloved of old-school bluesmen as well as one of the most consistently critically-acclaimed. A seven-time Blues Music Award winner, including most recently for his 2011 LP Show You A Good Time, the 77-year-old dynamo continues to thrill audiences worldwide with high-octane performances that display more energy and vitality than artists half his age or younger. On February 19, 2013 Rush will release Down in Louisiana, an eleven-track collection, through the independent Thirty Tigers label.
Down in Louisiana is a stripped-down affair that reminds of the classic sound of the Delta through Rush's influences like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Sonny Boy Williamson, but delivered with the artist's unique sound and creative vision. "This album started in the swamps and the juke joints, where my music started, and it's also a brand new thing," Rush says in a press release for the album. "Fifty years ago I put funk together with down-home blues to create my own style. Now, with Down in Louisiana, I've done the same thing with Cajun, reggae, pop, rock and blues, and it all sounds only like Bobby Rush."
Recording for Down in Louisiana began 18 months ago in Nashville with producer Paul Brown, keyboardist for Rush's touring band, at his Ocean Soul Studios. "Everything started with just me and my guitar," Rush explains. "Then Paul created the arrangements around what I'd done. It's the first time I made an album like that and it felt really good." While Rush's voice and guitar dominates the album's tracks, his longtime backing band, including Brown, bassist Terry Richardson, and drummer Pete Mendillo fill in the corners with their usual skill.
Over a career that has now spanned six decades, Rush has appeared on television, and performed on stages across the globe for all sorts of audiences, from the Lincoln Center to a Mississippi juke-joint. "But no matter how much I cross over, whether it's to a larger white audience or to college listeners or fans of Americana, I'll never cross out who I am and where I've come from," Rush promises. "My music's always gonna be funky and honest, and it's always gonna sound like Bobby Rush."
Photo courtesy Thirty Tigers Records