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Bobby Rush worked his way to Grammy No. 2 with ‘Rawer than Raw’

“Rawer than Raw” – the 27th studio album by international bluesman Bobby Rush – netted Memphis’ own a second Grammy Award Sunday night.

“We are just so happy to receive this second Grammy,” said Rush. “It’s so rewarding to know that our work is still being appreciated. The entire team feels blessed.”

Rush’s award-winning 2020 release won “Best Traditional Blues Album.” On it, “great bluesmen from Mississippi” get their due. A promo for the album describes it this way: “This is Bobby Rush, stripped down – just his guitar, harmonica, singing and foot tapping.”

At 87, Rush has been in the Grammy orbit for two decades. In 2001, he was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album” for “Hoochie Man.” In 2014, “Down in Louisiana” earned him a “Best Blues Album” nomination.

The next year, Rush received another “Best Blues Album” nomination for “Decisions.” And in 2017, his first Grammy win came for “Best Traditional Blues Album” for “Porcupine Meat.”

Born Nov. 10, 1933 in Homer, Louisiana, Rush was raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and then Chicago. Over the years he worked to produce a uniquely blended sound with elements of rap and funk wrapped up in the blues.

The first blues artist to perform in China (2007), Rush earned the moniker, “International Dean of the Blues.” He was dubbed the Friendship Ambassador to the Great Wall of China after performing the largest concert ever staged at the historic site.

Rush has received 17 blues awards in his lifetime. In 2006, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

“We’ve still got some exciting projects coming up,” Rush said. “So we’re not finished by a long shot. I’m even working on a book.”

TSD’s “Let’s Go Here”

with Bobby Rush

Tracy Sow, Rush’s publicist, said he has been on a virtual whirlwind tour of interviews since his latest Grammy prize.

“I asked him if his feet were back on the ground yet,” said Sow. “He told me, ‘No, not yet, I haven’t.’ It’s been such a thrill. He is just overwhelmed.

“This year, because of COVID-19, everything was done digitally: interviews in the green room, presentations, everything that’s usually done on the red carpet was done virtually this year. We were no less thrilled, though.”

Rush is back in the classroom teaching at the Rhodes College Mike Curd Music Institute this year. He’s teaching history, theory and the elements that comprise a successful music project.

“Full speed ahead” is Rush’s plan, Sow said.

“Mr. Rush looks great, feels great and continues to be hard at work on releasing future projects. … If he has any say about it, this year won’t be his last run at a Grammy.

“Believe me, there is more to come, lots more to come.”


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