- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

VIENNA, VA. (AP) - Tom Rush acknowledges he’s the biggest slacker in folk music.

“I think I’ve probably secured that title,” Rush said, after it took him 35 years to release his latest album, “What I Know.”

Rush blamed a combination of “sloth,” “inertia” and trouble landing a record deal for the long delay.

Rush was touring most of those years, except for the time he tried farming.

“I quit showbiz for nine months,” he said in a recent interview. “I had a farm up in New Hampshire and this Russian-made diesel tractor, and drove the tractor around the field for about nine months and basically made a mess and started to realize I wasn’t a farmer.”

Rush, 68, lives in New Hampshire with wife Renee Askins and their 9-year-old daughter, Siena.

“I got her a guitar,” he said of his daughter, “but she hasn’t shown any interest in learning how to play it. She likes to wear it. She’s forming a band. She’s got three girls who are guitar players, but none of them can play. There’s a drummer who doesn’t know how to play drums and a keyboard player who doesn’t know how to play keyboards. And they’re arguing over who’ll be the lead singer.”

While Rush co-wrote seven of the 15 tracks on the album, he’s primarily known for being an interpreter of other artists’ music. He was the first to record songs by Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Taylor has even credited Rush with his career. But Rush doesn’t buy that.

“I don’t know what he was drinking, but I should send him another bottle. I think Joni, Jackson and James in particular would’ve gotten where they were going with or without me,” he said.

Rush has never become as famous as those whose songs he sings. He says that’s fine by him.

“Some of my friends can’t go to the supermarket because they get bothered by people,” he said. “I think I have a very comfortable level of notoriety. I make a good living doing something I love to do and I think I’m a very lucky guy.”


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