Rush brings the Blues to Dana Road Elementary

Published 9:00 pm Monday, February 12, 2018

The students of Dana Road Elementary school got to witness a piece of blues history on Monday, when legendary Grammy winning artist Bobby Rush visited to speak and share some music with them.

The guitar that Rush brought with him laid in its case for most of his time though, as Rush got caught up telling colorful stories and dancing and singing with the students. Rush even performed a song with student Jah’Shawn Porter, playing the harmonica while Porter sang a light-hearted blues tale about going to school.

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“The kids are very perceptive,” Rush said. “Look how (Porter) got up and wanted to sing. Man these kids are smart, and I just want to be a part of their life because this is where we all come from. I’m just hoping that one day, these children will do the same thing I’m doing now as an entertainer, whether that’s as a musician, a teacher, a preacher, doctor, lawyer, whatever they want to be. They have the potential to do everything they want to, because they are smart kids.”

Rush performed as part of the Blues in the Schools program, and has visited schools all across the state to share his stories and music with students. Tracye Prewitt, who is the Special Events Coordinator for the school, made the event happen.

“I thought it would be nice to introduce the children to the genre of the blues, because all of the music they listen to today comes from blues music,” Prewitt said. “It’s Mississippi’s music, it’s America’s music, so I thought they should be introduced to it.”

Rush is 84 years old now, and over his 66 years of recording music, he’s recorded 364 songs. Last year, he won his very first Grammy award for Best Traditional Blues Album, for his album “Porcupine Meat.”

Rush lives in Jackson and said he was proud to bring the Grammy back home to Mississippi.

“It’s better late than never,” Rush said of finally winning a Grammy. “I’ve never been to heaven, but I imagine it feels something close to that.”

The students were exuberant during his performance, joining in with some lively sing-alongs, laughing as he explained to them how he and James Brown really started the rap game, and applauding so loudly while he played his harmonica that he had to ask them to stop so everyone could hear.

“This is a great school, great principal, great teachers, great students, this was just a great day for me,” Rush said.

Prewitt loved seeing the students react enthusiastically to the performance.

“It’s amazing to see that they take to the music, they take to him and they take away so much,” Prewitt said. “The arts and music are so important to all parts of education. It’s just another way of bringing art, culture and history into their lives. I want these children to have every opportunity in life, and I want them to meet people from every walk of life.”