Bobby Rush… GRAMMY winning blues legend, Blues Hall of Famer, 12x Blues Music Award winner, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, and makes a cameo in the Netflix Original ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ Starring Eddie Murphy.
After decades of tearing up the chitlin’ circuit on a nightly basis with his sweaty, no-holds-barred funkfests, Bobby has thoroughly broken through to the mainstream. He won a long-overdue 2017 Grammy for his spectacular album Porcupine Meat and consistently tours the globe as a headliner. What’s more, Bobby’s newest album Sitting on Top of the Blues on his own Deep Rush imprint (distributed by Thirty Tigers) promises to further spread the news that this revered legend, well past 80 years of age even if his stratospheric energy level belies the calendar, is bigger and badder and bolder than ever. In December 2019 – January 2020, the album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album and for a Blues Music Award for Best Soul Blues Album.
“I’m sitting on top of the blues. I’m a bluesman who’s sitting on the top of my game, proud of what I do and proud of who I am and thankful for people accepting me for what I am and who I am,” says the charismatic Rush. “I’m happy about what I’m doing and still enthused about what I’m doing. And I think we’ve got some good songs.”
That’s a profound understatement. There’s something for everyone on Sitting on Top of the Blues, from the boisterous R&B-laced opener “Hey Hey Bobby Rush” through the cooking “Good Stuff,” the sexy “Slow Motion,” and a stripped-down “Recipe For Love” that features Bobby and his co-producer Vasti Jackson supplying all the accompaniment necessary with their interlocking guitars. Rush wails on pungent harmonica throughout the set, his vocals as sly and sensuous as ever while elastic grooves simmer and surge behind him. Rush has been a master storyteller for decades, and the songs on this disc follow in that tradition.
Never one to rest on his considerable laurels, Bobby’s not about to start now. “I think I’m getting more acclaim because I’m working harder, and when people tell me I can’t do something, that’s the wrong thing to tell Bobby Rush,” he says. “I’m considered the king of the chitlin’ circuit. I’m crossing over now, but I haven’t crossed out. And I think the music itself says that about me.”
Scott Billington, producer of Porcupine Meat for Rounder Records, was involved this time too, though to a lesser extent as Rush recruited the multi-talented Jackson to help with much of the action behind the board. “I wanted to come with a record behind winning a Grammy,” says the veteran bluesman. “So we went and finished it up.” The album spotlights all of Rush’s strengths: blues, soul, funk, and everything in between.
“That’s about the truth of me,” he says of his new disc. “That’s all I know. Even if I do something different, I’m going to put enough blues in it so you’ll know that I’m still this blues singer that’s giving you what I know about it. Anything I do or say is going to be about the blues. So that’s where I was coming from with that. It’s got a lot of little twists. It’s got a little of this, a little of that. And I often talk about how I came up and who did I love and who influenced me.”