15 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tom Rush emerged from the ‘60s Cambridge folk scene and established himself as a master interpreter with his exemplary 1968 album The Circle Game, where he drew attention to the songwriting of Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor. Though he soldiered on through the ‘70s with equally enticing material, Rush was never a prolific writer or recording artist. What I Know is his first studio album in over 30 years and sounds as if it could have been birthed in the ‘70s alongside the rest of his catalog. The voice is in fine form — it remains the definition of “warm.” The arrangements are every bit as restrained and tasteful, unpretentious and serving the songs with great understatement. Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith, and Bonnie Bramlett guest harmony on a track apiece, but Rush remains the central star. His unhurried delivery mixed with the country-folk arrangements make for wistful tunes (“River Song,” “Too Many Memories”) that evoke images of a wise, old acoustic troubadour settled in the corner of the club. Positively exquisite.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tom Rush emerged from the ‘60s Cambridge folk scene and established himself as a master interpreter with his exemplary 1968 album The Circle Game, where he drew attention to the songwriting of Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor. Though he soldiered on through the ‘70s with equally enticing material, Rush was never a prolific writer or recording artist. What I Know is his first studio album in over 30 years and sounds as if it could have been birthed in the ‘70s alongside the rest of his catalog. The voice is in fine form — it remains the definition of “warm.” The arrangements are every bit as restrained and tasteful, unpretentious and serving the songs with great understatement. Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith, and Bonnie Bramlett guest harmony on a track apiece, but Rush remains the central star. His unhurried delivery mixed with the country-folk arrangements make for wistful tunes (“River Song,” “Too Many Memories”) that evoke images of a wise, old acoustic troubadour settled in the corner of the club. Positively exquisite.

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1:48
3:30
3:35
3:44
2:46
4:24
3:56
3:05
3:22
3:20
2:46
3:37
3:31
2:58
3:40

About Tom Rush

With his warm and slightly world-weary baritone voice, solid acoustic guitar playing, and gifted if hardly prolific songwriting skills, Tom Rush was one of the finest and most unsung performers to come out of the '60s urban folk revival.

Born February 8, 1941 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Rush began his performing career in 1961 while attending Harvard University (where he majored in English literature), and he soon became a regular on the east coast folk circuit. A careful, unhurried songwriter, he was also a fine song interpreter, and had a knack for finding just the right song from new songwriters, being the first to introduce work from then-new songwriters like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Murray McLauchlan, William Hawkins, and David Wiffen, among others, and found ways to breathe new life into any number of traditional folk, country, and blues numbers, as well. In a five-decade career that has been steady and consistent but hardly lived out in the public spotlight, Rush has recorded a little less than 20 albums, several of them live sets -- a spare output given the length of his recording career, but it is a sturdy legacy by anyone's measure, with at least one of his compositions, the resigned and bittersweet "No Regrets" from 1968, standing as an acknowledged classic in the folk field. To highlight a half century as a performing artist, Rush released Celebrates 50 Years of Music, a live CD and DVD set drawn from a show held at Boston Symphony Hall in December 2012. ~ Steve Leggett

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