Grammy-winning bluesman brings live show to Sarnia

Legendary Mississippi bluesman and 2017 Grammy Award winner Bobby Rush is playing The Station Music Hall on Aug. 12. Rick Olivier Photo

Troy Shantz

Sarnians will have a chance to experience one of the last original Mississippi bluesmen when Bobby Rush takes to the Station Music Hall stage on Aug. 12.

Rush, 83, is a legendary singer and musician who won the 2017 Grammy Award for best traditional blues album.

“I’ve been around the corner a couple of times,” said Rush, whose 66-year musical career is constantly evolving in style and performance.

“I developed the blues thing because that’s what I knew. Then I put the ladies around me with the dancing… to take it to the next level, because the young people don’t see the blues the way we saw it in the olden days.”

Rush has played with many of the greats including Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Canadian “Blues Brother” Dan Aykroyd and funk legend James Brown.

He will be backed at the Station by an eight-piece band and two female dancers. Opening act is Sarnia’s own Robb Sharp and Lit’l Chicago.

“I think any bluesman my age has got to modify… so people today can relate to them,” he told The Journal.

Rush was born in Louisiana in 1933. His father, a preacher, was one of Rush’s early influences and taught him guitar and harmonica.

“My daddy was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said with a laugh. “I knew when I was seven or eight years old what I wanted to be.”

He was a major player in the Chicago music scene through the 1950s and has performed in Australia, Japan, Germany, Spain, and France. He was the first blues artist to ever perform in China and set a record for playing the largest concert ever at the Great Wall.

Rush said he first visited Canada in 1971.

“There’s nothing like Canada to me. It’s a place I always wanted to go when I was young,” he said.

“The people are so nice to me there, so warm, and they welcome me in, and I’m just in love with it.”

Rush, who lives in Jackson, Mississippi, said he still plays about 200 shows a year, adding with a laugh, “For an old man that’s pretty good!”

Though he’s won numerous awards, his 2016 album “Porcupine Meat brought his first Grammy.

“I’m so thankful for what it is, man. It’s better late than never,” he said.

“I’m gonna take it in stride and thank God for what he has given me… I’m just on cloud nine.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Mississippi Blues legend Bobby Rush, with special guest Robb Sharp and Lit’l Chicago.

WHERE: The Station Music Hall, 505 Campbell St.

WHEN: Aug. 12, doors open 5 p.m. BBQ dinner at 6 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m.

TICKETS:

GOLD CIRCLE: $90 (limited number, advance reservations only) Preferred table seating, BBQ buffet dinner and prizes.

BBQ DINNER & SHOW: $60 (limited number, advance reservations only)

SHOW ONLY: $35 advance, $40 at the door.

Tickets available by calling 519-383-0006, or online at www.thestationmusichall.com/concerts, www.ticketscene.ca and www.ticketweb.ca. Also available at Cheeky Monkey Records, Picker’s Alley, Stone’s and Desena’s Hardware.