Bobby Rush has been making records for nearly 70 years and has more than 400 recordings, 75 career releases, and now 27 studio albums to his name. He’s finally told his story in his autobiography I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya: My American Blues Story in bookstores today via Hachette Books who have published Keith Richards, Buddy Guy, and Tina Fey to name a few. The book’s back cover includes testimonials from Mavis Staples, Dan Aykroyd, Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons; achieving feature stories in The New York Times Sunday Edition, The Guardian and NPR’s Here and Now. The literary media outlet Kirkus Reviews recounts "A fascinating story well told... A richly detailed account of a bluesman’s full life."
But Rush, who turned 88 in November is not done yet. 2021 marked the 50th Anniversary of his Billboard R&B charting hit “Chicken Heads”. To commemorate the occasion Bobby Rush recorded four new versions in distinctly different styles with an array of prolific collaborators including Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Buddy Guy, Allman Brothers alum Warren Haynes’ jam-rock band Gov’t Mule, and from the new generation of blues stars and current GRAMMY nominee Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, plus Bobby Rush with his band showcasing the Southern Soul style they’ve performed it in their live shows for decades. The four cuts were included on a special Black Friday Record Store Day exclusive 12” vinyl and followed digitally in early 2022.
After earning a Grammy Award for 'Best Traditional Blues Album' and a Blues Music Award for 'Album of the Year' for his studio recording Porcupine Meat in 2017, he spent a year writing his follow-up. In 2019, at age 85, he released Sitting on Top of the Blues with 11 originals, earning him another Blues Music Award and Grammy Award nomination. Rush is one of the last Black bluesmen from the class to emerge out of and triumph in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. He has recorded for more than 20 labels, from Checker/Chess and ABC to Philly Int’l and Rounder/Concord. To cap off 2019 he had a cameo in the Golden Globe-nominated Netflix original film Dolemite Is My Name, the Rudy Ray Moore biopic featuring Eddie Murphy as Moore. Rush kicked off 2020 with the release of “Dolemite Kid,” a single inspired by his nine years on tour with Moore, his day working with Murphy, and the hit film itself.
With the release of his 2020 album Rawer Than Raw, an all-acoustic effort that pays tribute to the rich blues history of Mississippi, Rush has cemented his reputation as one of the preeminent bluesmen in the world, one of the last living links to the music’s glorious past, and an inspiration for its future stars. The album won a Grammy Award for 'Best Traditional Blues Album,' his second Grammy Award and sixth nomination.
Rush’s performance itinerary has encompassed some of the biggest music events around the world, from Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis to Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia, countless European engagements, the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, and closer to home, Bonnaroo and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Rush was the first bluesman to perform at the Great Wall of China, attracting an audience of more than 40,000 and earning him the title of “China's Ambassador of the Blues.”