TOM RUSH, February 8, 1941-

Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Rush began working the Cambridge, Massachusetts, coffeehouse circuit in the early 1960s while earning his B.A. from Harvard. Although immediately categorized as a folksinger, his early albums—two with Prestige in 1963 and a 1965 Transatlantic release—reflected his career-long eclectic leanings, which included experimentation with the blues, jazz, classical arrangements, and rock instrumentation. His recorded material was divided between self-penned songs, traditionals, and astutely chosen compositions by other singer-songwriters (e.g., Joni Mitchell, James Taylor).

After signing with Elektra Records at the height of the folk-rock boom, Rush’s albums—Take A Little Walk With Me (Elektra 7308; 1966), The Circle Game (Elektra 74018; 1968), and Classic Rush (Elektra 74062; 1971)—began appearing on the pop charts. Although never achieving true stardom, his albums with Columbia—Tom Rush (Columbia 9972; 1970). Wrong End of the Rainbow (Columbia 30402; 1970), Merimack County (Columbia 31306; 1972), and Ladies Love Outlaws (Columbia 33054; 1974)—continued to sell moderately well in the early 1970s. Never comfortable as a mainstream label artist, he founded Maple Hill Productions in 1980. He began arranged a series of concerts under the Club 47 name (in tribute to the 1960s Cambridge coffeehouse) in order to nurture modern folk artists. He also established his own mail-order record label, Night Light Recordings. In addition to composing, recording, and touring over the years, he has remained deeply committed to a wildlife protection organization, the Wolf Fund. [Romanowski and George-Warren. 1995.]

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