Bobby Rush is an 84-year-old Grammy winning and legendary R&B, Soul, Funk, and Blues artist with the energy and performance style like he’s in his prime. Rolling Stone magazine calls Bobby Rush "The King of the Chitlin' Circuit" for his constant touring and vibrant live show on a circuit that has been home to Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, James Brown, and other black entertainers. As a result, the Blues Music Awards named him B.B. King Entertainer of the Year for 2014. Again in 2018 he received another nomination for the same award, giving him 47 career nominations with 12 wins.
September 2016 his 25th album Porcupine Meat was released on Rounder Records/Concord Music produced by Grammy winner Scott Billington and featuring guitar legends Dave Alvin, Joe Bonamassa, Vasti Jackson, and Keb’ Mo’. The album debuted at #1 on Living Blues radio chart, #5 on Billboard Blues, and #3 on iTunes Blues charts. This February the album won a Grammy Award and shot up to #1 on Amazon Blues, #2 on iTunes Blues, and major features including Variety and The New York Times. The album also won an OffBeat Magazine Best of the Beat Award for Best Blues Album.
At the end of 2015 his first-ever box set was released, titled “Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History on Bobby Rush” with 74 recordings on 4 CDs from 1964-2014 from 20 labels, with three new songs, outtakes, and testimonials from his friends Mavis Staples, Elvin Bishop, Keb’ Mo’, Al Bell, David Porter, and more. In 2016 the box set won Living Blues Magazine’s Award for Best Historical Release.
In 2006 he was inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame and from 2014-2015 he garnered back-to-back Grammy nominations and Blues Music Awards.
Bobby Rush was born in Homer, LA in 1933, then traveled to Pine Bluff, AR where he started his first band which included the great Elmore James. In 1955 he moved to Chicago, IL where he lived for 49 years and recorded for countless labels including Chess/Checker, ABC, Warner Bros, and Galaxy. He has earned three Gold Certified records for “Chicken Heads” in 1971, “Sue” in 1981, and “Ain’t Studdin’ Ya” in 1991, selling around four million albums in his career.
Rolling Stone magazine recently named his 1979 LP Rush Hour one of the Top 10 Blues albums of the 1970s. The album was released on Gamble & Huff’s Philly Int’l Records and was born from a collaboration with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Leon Huff, Kenny Gamble, and Quincy Jones…who made up Mighty Three Music Publishing.
Rush has been doing 200 shows per year for 60 years, has recorded 370 songs, and is considered to have began his late-career emergence in 2000 with his Grammy nomination and with his featured role in Martin Scorsese’s The Blues documentary on PBS. On Friday and Saturday nights you can find him performing for thousands of fans all over the world from clubs for 800 to Chitlin’ Circuit venues for 20K people to festivals for up to 80K. Songs written by Rush have been recorded by an eclectic array of artists including Wyclef Jean, B.B. King, James Brown, Hot Tuna, and The Staple Singers.
These past few years have been especially exciting with the Grammy Award and Blues Music Awards, third consecutive Grammy nomination, performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, role in documentary Take Me to the River alongside Terrence Howard, Snoop Dogg, and Mavis Staples…which was in theaters nationwide and included a big tour, the collaboration with Dr. John and the album release, plus winning two Blues Music Award’s including the highest honor “B.B. King Entertainer of the Year”.
“…the man known as ‘The King of the Chitlin Circuit’… a man who deserves being mentioned in the same context as the blues greats Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and B.B. King.” – American Blues Scene