Tim Rushlow and His Big Band are at the Franklin Theatre tonight for the second show of “Home for The Holidays” – a heart-warming and soul-stirring big band concert event.
This is a never-before-seen concert experience and Rushlow, a multi-platinum recording artist, is kicking it off right here in his hometown of Franklin with the music that is at the core of his heart.
We had the opportunity to sit down with him to learn more about the show, his favorite Christmas tradition and what it’s like to perform at the Franklin Theatre.
The Big Band sound is somewhat of a departure from your other music, why did you choose to explore this genre of music?
It’s kind of funny, but it’s not new to me. I’ve been singing these songs since I was a little kid, having grown up with my dad’s fast, retro, throw-back record collection, which in his day was not a throw-back, it was real-time. But I’ve always loved those songs and I’ve always loved the American Songbook and have been fascinated with the songwriters Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter, on down the road. And the era in which they wrote these songs was a time in our country when we really needed it. We needed a lot of hope and some joy, they wrote these songs and they are magical. To this day, it’s not hard to understand why Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra can take over the radio airwaves for Christmas and replace Maroon Five and Lady GaGa, but it happens every year because those songs can’t be replaced, and those songs are from The Great American Songbook. So to get to go back and be a curator of that material and take it to the next generation, it’s a real honor and it’s been a vision and idea of mine that I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m finally getting to do it. And it’s just an amazing time.
I’m also amazed that when I started building this brand four years ago, that four years later, now that it’s officially launched, my Christmas CD is released, and now my Public Television special is airing across the country as a national pledge drive. Every time I turn on my television I’m hearing big band music. I’m hearing big band music on the commercials for Lincoln, or Honda or anything else, I hear it more now than ever and I really think our culture is just yearning for some real authentic music and that music is that. Timing couldn’t be better, and it’s taking off a lot fast now than I thought it would.
You have an upcoming performance at the Franklin Theatre (which is sold-out) tell us what we can expect at the holiday concert?
The shows at the Franklin Theatre will be special because I live here, but also because I’ve always wanted to play there. Having the public television special air here and sell out tickets on NPT and then turn around and sell both nights at the theatre is pretty crazy cool! The show will be a lot of fun and it will definitely take people back in time, which isn’t hard to do when you’ve got 13 horns blaring at you.
I actually enjoy watching the audience, because the moment we start to play I watch people go back to 1965. The band does that for me. The show will be broken up into two different segments, with the first half being selections from the Great American Songbook, which will be songs from Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darrin, Dean Martin and others, and then there will be an intermission and then the second half will be a full-on Christmas show with all of the songs that people know and love from that era.
Since we are talking about Christmas, can you share with us one of your Christmas traditions?
My family and I always start the holiday season by watching The Sound of Music as a family. It’s our tradition to watch it together as a family and it kicks off our Christmas season and always reminds us of what to be thankful for. That’s also why I recorded Edelweiss on my Christmas album, and actually before the song starts, while the symphony is playing, I narrate why I chose to put that song on the record. So it’s a special song and I actually have my daughter Bailey sing it with me on my Christmas record, just like the father and daughter do on the Sound of Music, so it is very special piece of music for me and for my family.
I will also add that my daughter Bailey is singing in the show with me, this is sort of her debut. She’s been singing for quite some time now so she is finally getting a chance to sing at my show. She is going to sing an Etta James song in the first portion of the show and then she will come back and sing in the Christmas show. And she will also be singing a duet with me on Mary Did You Know, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to finally sing with my daughter on stage.
As a Williamson County resident, what does it mean for you to perform here at home?
I love Williamson County, it’s where I’ve lived since I moved to Tennessee 24 years ago and it is home. Franklin is a magical town and one of the nicest, safest, most beautiful places on the planet earth, and having traveled the world and played for our troops I always think of Franklin when I’m overseas as what I can’t wait to come home to, so this really is an amazing place and I love it here.
I’m thankful for the freedom we have and the safety we feel here and that goes for the men and women fighting for us overseas and it goes for the Franklin police department and the Williamson County Sheriff’s department, and all of the first responders, to keep us safe. They are all good friends of mine. I’m very very proud of this place, this is where I live and where you can bury me.
Tim Rushlow and His Big Band ‘Home for the Holidays’ has sold out two shows this Friday and Saturday night shows at the Franklin Theatre. To learn more about Tim Rushlow and his Big Band, visit his Facebook page.