Hippo Manchester
May 26, 2005

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Tom Rush chatting it up with his fans at The Tupelo Music Hall on May 21, 2005
Bruce Bressack photo

Tom Rush rules Tupelo

Folk concert first in a series of Hippo-sponsored shows

By Bruce Bressack

Do you know where your parents were last Saturday night?

Did you wait up for them and think, “It’s past 9 p.m. — how come they’re not home downing their Metamucil and watching Trading Spaces on the 60-inch plasma TV?”

Well, the Hippo found them at the Tupelo Music Hall, eyes glued to the stage, watching folk legend Tom Rush weaving his musical tapestry song by legendary song, story by hilarious story.

For the uninitiated, Rush helped shape the folk revival of the 1960s and its renaissance in the ’80s and ’90s. His early recordings introduced the world to the work of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and James Taylor.

According to Rolling Stone, Rush’s album The Circle Game, released in 1968, ushered in the singer/songwriter era.

The first time I saw Rush perform was 15 years ago at an outdoor concert in Conway, NH. It did not compare to seeing Rush perform in the intimate, listening-room environment of the Tupelo.

His soft-spoken introductions to the songs were easily heard in the hall, and his humorous anecdotes led to bursts of laughter, wild applause and healthy hoots and hollers. (If you think your parents don’t know how to party, I can send you the photographic evidence.)

Rush ruled the stage, masterfully performing everything from “The Panama Limited” by Mississippi blues man Bukka White, to Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game,” to Murray McLaughlin’s “A Child’s Song,” to his original and classic songs “No Regrets” and “Rockport Sunday.”

As the audience filed out, Rush stood patiently near the exit signing CDs and old album covers that fans had brought to the show. He chatted with folks like they were old and close friends, and he graciously posed for photo after photo.

If you were at the Tupelo that evening, you witnessed greatness (and humbleness) first-hand. Rush sold out the show and he gave the audience a truly generous performance. And, along the way, he reminded all of us why music was so important in the ’60’s — it was real, it was powerful, and it was an “agent of change.”

The Hippo is presenting the Mammals at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry on June 24. The Tupelo and The Hippo are jointly presenting the Bacon Brothers on July 29 at the Stockbridge Theatre, in Derry.

Carl Cacho, opening act

Suffice to say that it was a roller coaster ride for me last week, and Carl Cacho proved to be the right antidote, at the right time, in the right place. As the opening act for Tom Rush, Cacho’s gentle spirit (and well-crafted songs) filled the room with homespun charm and warmth.

Cacho’s connection with the audience was real and immediate. He was like family, and we could all relate to his stories about his grandmother.

Sounded just like mine!

I’ve been impressed with all the opening acts at the Tupelo. It’s a tough slot because the audience is there to see the headliner. You have to win the crowd over and Cacho did this easily, with heart, spirit and great tunes.

From Cacho’s website: “Carl got his start among the open stages of the fertile New England folk scene while still a teenager in the late 1980s.

He developed his unique brand of songwriting throughout his early 20s, while working as a social worker and living in Colorado, New York, Michigan and Massachusetts. It was as a graduate student of social work in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that Carl began performing professionally, becoming a regular at the world-renowned venue, “The Ark.” With encouragement from two of his earliest heroes, Ellis Paul and Catie Curtis, he decided to return to New England to further hone his craft.

He has since become a featured performer at some of the most prestigious venues in the area, including Club Passim, The Muse At The Grey Goose, Johnny D’s and dozens of others.”

For more information, or to purchase CDs, visit www.carlcacho.com