Counsel of Elders: Bobby Rush on Staying Sexy

Bobby Rush is a character, the lines between his true self and his stage act blurring until it’s hard to tell which is which. And perhaps that’s the point. There really can’t be any sharp distinction, because Rush is a performer through and through, his time on stage merely a larger — and sparklier — version of the man he is day to day. Rush isn’t his real name, of course, but from the way he likes to refer to himself in the third person, you’d be hard-pressed to think there was anyone else beneath the folk-funk fiend who sings about being a “Night Gardener” (mowing a different type of lawn, if you catch my drift). Rush was born Emmet Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana, in 1935, before his parents moved the family to Arkansas when he was 11. As a young adult, Rush continued north, landing in Chicago until Jackson, Mississippi, called his name 48 years later and he resettled there, halfway between his first home and his most formational. “I been in the big city, out the big city, in the country, in the small town, what have you,” Rush says, his words coming in a — wait for it — rush, all peppered with a lilting Southern accent. The styles he picked up along the way all informed his music — a flashy, fun take on funk that’s as innuendo-laden as they come. [Full article on The Bluegrass Situation.]

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