Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page

Ralph Rush learned his first guitar chords from his grandmother, who was born in the 1880s and played parlor guitar. An early love of rock and roll led him to Blues and Roots music. He has performed with Pete Seeger and Harry Chapin, among others, and at various music festivals and venues including the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the New Jersey Folk Festival, the New York City Center Jazz Museum, and the Fredericksburg and Lynchburg Blues Festivals.

In the 1970s, Ralph was the regular guitarist for the legendary Victoria Spivey, "Queen of the Blues," and since then has been on a quest to revitalize the roots of blues music. Now a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, Ralph has traveled the South and continues to play acoustic and slide guitar. He is a member of the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. and played at the Kennedy Center as part of the "Year of the Blues." In January, 2007, he played at the Landmark Theatre in Richmond, VA. Ralph recently performed in Mississippi at the Hobson Plantation, known as the Mecca of the blues, at the John Hurt Blues Festival.

Recent News ralph rush

As of February 17, 2008, Ralph's new album, Ragged & Dirty had been on WTJU's Top Twenty Blues Chart for three months, and in the top ten for two months.

Ragged & Dirty was released November 4, 2007, to a packed house at the Gravity Lounge in Downtown Charlottesville. Ralph was proud to open for the esteemed Dr. Maya Angelou at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville.

Hooktown Blues, a compliation of Charlottesville featuring Ralph with Corey Harris, Paul Curreri, Bill Adams, etc., hit #1 is on the WTJU FM Blues and Jazz Top 20. As a member of the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation, Ralph traveled to the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee, where they received a KBA award.

Ralph was named best guitarist at the Fredericksburg Blues Festival. J. Geils presented the award. Tom Principato and Chip Eagle of Blues Review were among the judges.


"...Ralph's delivery is smmoth and clean. His vocals are as rich and deep as the roots of the music he plays. Ralph's devotion to tradition is evident from the standards he's picked to cover, as well as the two original compositions. This is good stuff."
-- Becky Allen, Open Roads Magazine

"Ralph is the sunniest bluesman around."
-- Judy Longley, poet, Southern Poetry Review

"I loved your music!"
-- Maya Angelou

"I liked Ragged & Dirty. I liked the variety. It's down home and in the groove...Ralph plays with soul and feeling in a traditional style that's all his own."
-- Corey Harris

"A fine guitarist."
-- Cville Weekly

"I savored Hooktown Blues; it is really sweet! Loved your guitar playing and sharp tone.
Victoria Spivey has good taste in men. You can say I testified."
-- Gaye Adegbalola

"Every track made me smile."
-- Anne Williams, WNRN (Hooktown Blues)

"Ralph is a great artist."
-- David Eisenman, WTJU FM Director of Jazz and Blues Programming

"'Honeyboy sings "Hey Hey Hey" in a voice that's deeper than the night."
-- The Hook

"Ralph knows the blues and plays with style and feeling. He knows how to capitavate an audience with his songs, stories, and presence."
-- Nick Page, WTJU

All pictures, music, and other media courtesy of Ralph Rush. All music provided is for private use only. All rights reserved. Copyright 2011.