Arkansas musician gets third Grammy

A week ago, Bobby Rush took home his third Grammy Award. Like the other two, the shiny new hardware was for Best Traditional Blues Album.

When most folks are doing some serious kicking back, Rush at age 83, give or take, picked up his first Grammy. That was in 2017. In 2021, he won a second. And now in 2024, at 90, he completed the hat trick with a third Grammy.

That, of course, doesn't count all of the previous nominations, which go back to 2001. Being nominated for a Grammy is no doubt the high-water mark for a lot of musicians, but Rush was just getting started when he earned those.

Rush is from Jefferson County, and in Pine Bluff there's a piece of Third Avenue that is now called Bobby Rush Way. In Memphis, he has a brass musical note -- part of the Beale Street Brass Notes Walk of Fame -- embedded in the sidewalk, along with dozens of other singers, lyricists, musicians, producers and the like "who put Memphis music and Beale Street on the world map," as the organizers put it.

Our correspondent caught up with him Monday, after the big night, and Rush said he was still on cloud nine.

"Last night was one of the better nights in my life," he said. "I was honored just to be nominated, but I wasn't expecting to win. You know, there's some pretty tough competition and some great guys were up for that Grammy."

He said he accepted the award in honor of the musicians he looked up to, like B.B. King and Muddy Waters.

"It was something when I won my first Grammy at age 83 -- that was great," he said. "But I didn't expect to still be going strong at the age I am now. God has His own plans."

Was he going to rest now?

Nope. Not even close.

"I'm doing radio and television interviews here in Los Angeles later this morning," he said. "Then I leave for Phoenix, then San Diego before I fly out for London and France later this week. I'm just blessed to be doing what I'm doing."

If you do an online search for Rush and those destinations, you'll quickly see that he isn't going to London for the tea or France for the croissants. He has shows, with tickets available if you're in the neighborhood.

Such exposure makes Rush an international celebrity, but as famous as he is, he always seems quite comfortable back home, darting into a local bar on Pine Bluff's Main Street or appearing at a small-town festival to perform -- he'll be at Fordyce on the Cotton Belt – again -- in late April, for example.

Before he got off the phone, he thanked The Commercial for telling his story. Kind words, but we imagine Bobby Rush would be exactly where he is today without our help.

And we expect he will be cranking hard for some time to come.

"I'm still full of fire and enthused about what I'm doing," he said. "I'm learning every day and I love it."

Congratulations, Mr. Rush. Long may you reign.

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