A Different Kind of Gala: Down in Mississippi

Virtual Livestream - Celebrating Bobby Rush

GRAMMY®-winning blues artist Bobby Rush will be the recipient of the second annual Crossroads of American Music Award at GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi’s 2020 Gala, which will be streamed live from the Museum in Cleveland, Miss., on Thursday, Nov. 12. Rush will appear at the Museum’s virtual ceremony to accept the award and perform. Special guests Steve Azar and Cedric Burnside will also perform during the livestream.


The 2020 GRAMMY Museum Gala will feature live performances by Rush and special guests. This year’s virtual event will also feature the presentation of the 2020 L.U.C.Y. Award, which honors a K-12 educator from the state of Mississippi who embodies the educational mission of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.


Tickets to the virtual gala can be purchased at


Established by the Museum’s Board of Directors, the Crossroads of American Music Award honors an artist who has made significant musical contributions influenced by the creativity born in the cradle of American music. The inaugural recipient of the Crossroads of American Music Award was three-time GRAMMY Award winner Charley Pride.


The annual GRAMMY Museum Mississippi Gala is the Museum’s signature fundraising event. Proceeds from this year’s virtual gala will benefit the Museum’s education program, which seeks to use music as a gateway to learning by inspiring and cultivating creativity, critical thinking and self-expression.


Bobby Rush has been making records for nearly 70 years and has more than 400 recordings, 75 career releases and now 27 studio albums to his name. A five-time GRAMMY nominee, Rush won the Best Traditional Blues Album GRAMMY at the 2017 awards for his album Porcupine Meat. He received his fifth career GRAMMY nomination in 2019 for his album Sitting On Top Of The Blues. As one of the last Black bluesmen to emerge out of and triumph in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s in Chicago, Rush has recorded for more than 20 labels, from Checker/Chess and ABC to Philly Int’l and Rounder/Concord.


With the release of his 27th studio album Rawer Than Raw (August 2020), an all-acoustic effort that pays tribute to the rich blues history of Mississippi, Rush has cemented his reputation as one of the preeminent bluesmen in the world—one of the last living links to the music’s glorious past, and an inspiration for its future stars. Partly inspired by the popular series of intimate solo concerts Rush has made a mainstay of his concert calendar in the years since his first all-acoustic album (Raw), Rawer Than Raw casts a spotlight on five Mississippi Blues Hall of Famers: Skip James, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Muddy Waters.


Born Emmett Ellis, Jr. outside Homer, La., Rush became a professional blues musician while still a teenager, adopting his stage name Bobby Rush so as to not disrespect his preacher father. Among the artists Rush has worked with include legendary slide guitarist Elmore James, harmonica ace Little Walter, guitarist Freddie King, and blues greats Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, among others. Rush has also won numerous awards and accolades, including induction into the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. He’s won 13 Blues Music Awards including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award at the 36th annual Blues Music Awards. Rush was the first bluesman to perform at the Great Wall of China, attracting an audience of more than 40,000 and earning him the title of “China's Ambassador of the Blues.” In 2008, he was honored with a marker on Mississippi Blues Trail.