Tom & Mat recording Nothin' But A Man

Happy New Year & Suspicions About Rudolph


Happy 2021, everyone! It’s getting a bit brighter every day — have you noticed? But … I’ve waited until after the holidays to report this, as it’s somewhat distressing, even for me, and I’m hard-to-distress: _Rudolph is a fraud_.

On the one hand, Burl Ives’ song is brilliant in that it poses a problem (based on social angst) in the first verse, and then solves it in the second. Done! Very economical.

BUT … if you think about it, having a bright red light on your nose is not going to help you see through the fog any more than your high-beams would. To the contrary, it would totally blind you, causing you and the sleigh behind you to fly into a power line, and there goes Christmas!

My other problem, leaving aside the physics behind flying reindeer (where does the jet propulsion jet come from? I don’t want to know, but I really wouldn’t want to be sitting in that sleigh!), is that the reindeer who shunned and reviled “poor Rudolph” now love him to bits simply because he was useful. Not because he was smart, or good-hearted, or funny, or hot. No, they would have loved a _GPS_ even more.

But let’s turn to the positive. This is the time of year when I thank all the folks who’ve been helping me do what I do (and will hopefully continue to do so for years to come):

Andrea Sabata, my booking agent at Skyline; who has been doing the emotionally exhausting (and unpaid) task of moving show after show down the calendar — and then moving them again. And again. (Someday this will end, Andrea!);

Ben Rush, my eldest son, who has faithfully designed and run and all its various permutations for the past decade or so;

Katelyn Larson, who has been guiding me through the Social Media side of things, keeping me on track;

Mark Steele, who has taken on the job of videotaping my Rockport Sundays subscription series at my kitchen table (or my living room when Matt Nakoa stops by to play along);

Matt Nakoa, whose accompaniment on keyboards and vocal harmonies never fails to make songs sound better than I ever thought they could;

Rob Stegman who runs the fulfillments side of the store. (We don’t have our own fleet of delivery trucks yet, but look out!!);

My friends and family who have supported me over some patches of rough road, and … far from leastall of you who have been my companions through one musical adventure after another over the years.

Speaking of which, for those of you who have not yet subscribed to the Rockport Sundays series, here’s a taste of what you’re missing — free for nothing!! (I’m clearly hoping to tempt you on board — c’mon, you’ll love it!!)

My friends, here’s to a safe, sound and vastly-improved New Year!

All the best,

Tom Rush

Quote of the month:
“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live!
–– George Carlin

Come on into my kitchen for Rockport Sunday(s)

Come on into my kitchen for Rockport Sunday(s)

Hey Gang,

Random thought of the month, isolation inspired: I’ve done the math. This $18 box of wine contains as much as four of the $20 bottles I used to buy. Therefore, I save $62 for every box I drink. Conclusion: I must drink more wine — I need the money!!

I want you to know that I really appreciate you — the support and encouragement you’ve given me over the years! Now there’s something new I really want to do, and I’m going to need your help to do it. I’m inviting you into my kitchen:

I’m embarking on a new adventure, a series of weekly online offerings — kitchen-table videos of songs and stories, pages from a book I’m working on … and more. Since they’ll be coming out of my kitchen in Rockport, Mass, I thought I’d call them “Rockport Sundays”, after that instrumental I recorded way back when.

OK, here’s how it works: I’m doing this through a platform called, and it’s easy! You sign up and every Sunday I’ll send you something. One week a Kitchen Table Video (KTV) recording of an old song with some back story about the song.

The next week, a KTV of a brand-new song (I have almost enough already for a new album!). Then a KTV of a story from my 50+ years on the road (I have a list of about 30 so far — Skinny Dipping with Janis Joplin, Steve Goodman and the Giant Rabbit, Clint Eastwood and the Hashish Brownie— some fun stuff!), pages from a book I’m writing. AND, from time to time, some Wild Card thing that will be a surprise for all concerned, including me.

Now, these won’t be super-slick. This is me at home, after all, and believe it or not, my life is not highly polished! But you’ll be joining me for some seriously casual fun, AND you’ll be giving me an incentive (an imperative, really) to keep on creating — and to finish up the odds and ends I’ve had lying around for years.

The price tag is a mere $10 a month, and I’ll do my level best to make sure you get more than your money’s worth. If you’re having a good time (and I’m quite sure you will), please help spread the word — the more the merrier! And if you have friends or family who might enjoy this adventure, forward this email on to them (or give it to them as a Christmas surprise!). And if you have friends or family who might enjoy this adventure, forward this email on to them (or give it to them as a Christmas surprise!).


Check it out! And thank you!

All the best,

Tom Rush

Tom Rush


Quote of the month:
If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
–Yogi Berra


Philly Folk Festival online concert

Tom Rush Plays the 59th Annual Philidelphia Folk Festival (virtural event)

Join Tom Rush and Matt Nakoa for an evening virtual concert on Saturday 11/21 at 8 pm as they help celebrate the 59th Annual Philidelphia Folk Festival!

During difficult times, we turn to music for joy, comfort, inspiration, and to feel connected to a larger shared experience. Building community through music is at the core of the Folksong Society’s mission. While our venue and school remain closed for the safety and health of our patrons and staff, our work continues behind the scenes bringing you music and events that can be enjoyed online from your home, and planning for the future, when our doors finally reopen.

See the festival website for details on how to take part in a virtual green-room post-show meet and greet with Tom & Matt.

Tickets at

Philly Folk Festival online concert

Walden 1120 FM Open House Folk Festival, 1989

Walden 1120 FM Open House Folk Festival, 1989


On October 1, 1989, the owners of new commercial AM folk radio station WADN out of Concord Massachusetts celebrated their recent launch with a free live on-air concert. Performing were: Chris Smither, Cheryl Wheeler, Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen, Bill Morrissey, Christine Lavin, Patty Larkin, Northern Lights, Shawn Colvin, and Tom Rush. This video of that concert was produced by volunteers from Boston’s public access TV station, BNN-TV – Boston Neighborhood Network.

Please Note: The Post-apocalyptic Fiction section has been moved to Current Affairs

Sing Me A Story, Tell Me A Song

Image via twitter @guensberg image by @gaenorbagley


Many, many, many, many thanks to all of you who’ve sent supportive messages. They’ve worked and I am recovered!! I still have a bit of healing to do, but fortunately I am young and strong — my quarantine is up today, Easter Sunday. (I’m not saying for a minute that there’s any deep significance there. Make of it what you will.)

I feel badly that I’ve not been able to reply personally to each and every missive, but I did read them all and loved every one. (And I probably will not be able to make replies for a while — I’m now swamped with all the things that didn’t get done while I was in bed with the bug. An unfortunate image!) I’m a very fortunate guy to have so many people who care!

Please, please, please do stay out of harm’s way. Stay At Home!! This bug has no sense of humor or fairness. We need to protect each other and, most importantly we need to protect the medical workers. They are the ones running toward the danger, and they need our help.

Shows: I screwed up a few days ago and posted some misinformation. Everything through June has been moved down the calendar, some to the fall, some for an entire year (including my eagerly-anticipated trip to the UK in June, now June 2021). But shows from July and onward are still on-schedule. Go to for the latest show-by-show account. We’ll let you know if anything changes.

But for now, because I miss you, I’m going to try to offer you some entertainment in cyber-space (where “going viral” can be a ‘Good Thing™’).

I was half-asleep and the line floated by, “Sing Me A Story, Tell Me A Song.” Seemed like a good idea. We (my cyber-crew and I — I’m from the steam age and am uncomfortable with things that go “beep”) are working to set up a weekly on-line live get-together. The format I’m envisioning is that I’ll pick a song to sing for you, there will be some live Q&A (where I will select the Questions to which I actually have Answers, or for which I am able to make up something interesting), AND then I’ll tell you a Story. This, I think, is the good part.

I’m working on a book about what it’s like to be a travelling musician, and part of that book will be stories of some of the improbable things that have happened over the years and miles. I’ll send out a follow-up newsletter when we’re ready to launch (fasten seatbelts!) and give you a list of story titles (“The Naked Dwarf Tag-Team Wrestling Act.” “Steve Goodman and the Giant Rabbit.” “Clint Eastwood and the Hashish Brownie.” I have two pages-worth of just titles!) and we’ll have a mechanism whereby you can vote for the story you’d like to hear that week, and that’s the one I’ll tell. Could be fun!!

Please, please … stay safe, stay well, Stay At Home!!

Happy Passover, Joyous Easter, Glorious Spring!

All the best,

Tom Rush


Quote of the Month: Not a quote really, but a link to a video enhancement of one of my all-time favorite songs from one of my all time favorite albums (of mine), the oft-overlooked New Year from Symphony Hall in Boston in 1981. Tim Jackson, the drummer on the piece and a member of the band for many great years, put some train footage to it and I think it’s lovely:
Thank you Tim! (The playing is all superb, but Bromberg’s Dobro part and Josh Schneider’s sax are … well, give it a listen!)


Tom Rush - Singer-Songwriter

Tom Rush on John Prine: ‘He saw truths that had never occurred to us before’

This letter first appeared April 8, 2020 in the Boston Globe §§

I did not know him well, not as well as I would wish. We worked together on a few occasions, ran into each other at a couple of gatherings. I knew him mainly, as did most of us, through his work, his songs.

He had me from “Angel from Montgomery.” Damn, that song was so strong, so true, it took your breath away. This in spite of the fact that there’s a guy singing, “I am an old woman, named after my mother. . .” It took about a tenth of a second to get over the, “Wait! He’s not an old woman!” bit and get swept away by the power of the story, get drawn into the picture he was painting. (Also, there was the part that it never seemed to even occur to him that he was not, in fact, an old woman, he understood and occupied that character so fully and empathetically.)

And then there were all the other shining gems that made us love him, the sideways, sometimes upside-down takes on life that had us smiling and singing along. Ways of looking at things that were new to the world but were expressed so forcefully and engagingly that you could not turn away — there was no choice in the matter, you had to love him.

No movie-star looks, no soaring tenor or dazzling guitar licks. He didn’t need them. He saw truths that had never occurred to us before, and offered them up in a brand-new, loving way that could not be denied.

Goodbye, John Prine. I am sadder than I have been in a long, long time.

Tom Rush

Tom Rush