Blues legend Bobby Rush talks influences, career and his Grammy

NEW ORLEANS -- At 84 years old, blues legend Bobby Rush shows no sign of slowing down.

He was recently in town for the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival, and while he's influenced a host of artists over his long career, we got a chance to ask him about some to the artists that influenced him.

"Probably be Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, I like the way he was so adept in his dressing, Fats Domino was a helluva writer, and I also like Louis Jordan because he wrote so gimmicky and he talks about things I can relate to like animals, chickens, horses and cows and pigs being a country boy from Louisiana," Rush says.

Bobby Rush (Rounder Records/Rick Olivier)

That country boy from Louisiana has parlayed over 70 years on stage with savvy business skills to become one of our most successful showmen.  He's played in over 40 countries, performed for presidential inaugurations, and this year Rush won his first Grammy Award.

"For the first time out the 374 records I recorded through the years in different parts of the country. Being from Louisiana, this is my first record I recorded in Louisiana," Rush explains.

Bobby Rush performs at the 2017 Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival (WGNO-TV)

The beauty of talking to Bobby Rush is his knowledge of the music's history -- and his honesty.  He plays a lot of big stages these days but he also understands the importance of small venues, in spite of playing for small profits.

Rush told us, "Yeah, you always miss the small clubs, but I don't miss what they paid me!"

Bobby Rush and LBJ (WGNO-TV)

Rush has no regrets about those early years, and he's very clear on how music brings people together.

"Music is the link. It's a solving problem for most of the things in this world because when you do music, without music, God, where would we be?"