By DARYL BROOKE

Originally from South Carolina, Joal Rush has been performing all over Key West for 15 years. He has been invited to participate in the Key West Songwriters Festival for the last six years, and has become a local favorite in Key West, performing regularly at the Smokin’ Tuna, Hog’s Breath, and most recently Duval Central.

Anxious to help victims of Hurricane Irma in any way he could, last October, Rush donated funds to evacuees of the Keys from sales of his song “Lesson I Never Learn,” part of his new upcoming major CD release “Kaleidoscope Emotions,” which he will release on Friday, Feb. 2.

Rush describes his new CD as “my best stuff to date.” I had a chance to preview the new songs back in October when he played them for me live acoustically, and I agree. This is his best yet!

“As a performing songwriter, you go through certain phases and different influences. For me, roots rock writers Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and Jason Isbell were big influencers. This album showcases more of that side of me and who I am musically and where I am today.”

Rush is quick to credit the help he got on this CD. “Lesson I Never Learned” was written with songwriter John Gurney after the two met at the Key West Songwriters Festival. “Sweeter by the Day” was written by Rush and local Key West songwriter Nick Norman; “Wreckless Heart” was written with Lewis Brice, another Key West favorite performer.  Three of the songs on the CD were written with Joal and Andy Luadzers when they performed as the duo “The Grand Folks” in Charleston.  Those songs include “Darlin’ Stay”, “I Don’t Want Anyone But You”, and “Sylvia”. “All of those songs are pretty rootsy with an acoustic sound and a haunting vibe,” said Rush.

Many people will recognize “Lesson I Never Learned” since it was featured with Rush’s Key West bar tour videos posted on Facebook. These videos creatively promoted his songs as well as various Key West bars, bartenders and other musicians playing throughout Key West, helping raise awareness for some venues that regular visitors and fans of Rush’s had never been to before.

“Kaleidoscope Emotions” was engineered and mixed by Tommy Carnes and co-produced with  Joal Rush in Nashville. The song “Rose Colored Glasses” was recorded here in Key West at the Ramble Room Studios at the Key West Theater, engineered by another Key West musician, Andrew Gunning.

The CD is available for download purchase as well as CD through Rush’s website joalrush.com.

Photo Credit: Paul Blatt

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