Click here to view a review of Bob's latest CD "Troubadour Songs" from CincyMusic.
Click here to read City Beat's take on "Troubadour Songs."
Click here to view A review from Acoustic Roundtable: www.acousticroundtable.com/page/bob-cushing
The following article was printed in the May 2009 issue of Eastside Vibe:
Bob Bests Bob's Best
Bob Cushing doesn’t get booked as much as he deserves here on the Eastside. I’ll never know why. Bob is a 2009 troubadour, a true 60’s generation artist. If Bob had been born 30 years earlier who knows, maybe he’d be selling $200 a head tickets at college halls like Bob Dylan and John Prine.
Fact is you don’t need a ticket to see Bob’s show (and I bet that suits him just fine). Bob’s not on CMT or MTV or VH1 or any other 3 letter acronym corporate commercial crap ass consolidated bunch of bullshit. Bob lives in the pubs. He might even die in one. I bet that would suit him just fine too.
Bottom line is we love Bob, and for damn good reason. I doubt any other Cincinnati solo artist has a soul such as Bob’s. Bob is a dreamer, a realist, a poet, a picker, a drinker, a smoker, a toker, a lover, an artist and a friend. Bob has a transparent soul. He is what he sings, he sings what he lives and he don’t give a damn if that ain’t your thing. Amen to that my friend! I wish we had 2000 more like ya, nevertheless we’re glad to have just the one.
One, is all we need though and if you only have one piece of Bob make it his latest CD release “Still Alive”. Bob has released other great CD’s in the past (Step Aside, Middle Aged Crazy) and we’ve worn out each and every one. We’ve spent many a night (and early mornings) secretly switching our party guests CD’s for Bob’s. Every time, we get “what the f#ck is this, this is like bar band music” Your damn right it is and that’s the way we like it.
The real reason for this article is that Bob has bested himself with his 20th anniversary release. It’s going along side my coveted collection of hard to find (or un-released) music CD’s (including some Sonny Moorman stuff Sonny says he don’t even have anymore). Hah!
“Still Alive” is a full blown 2 disc album. The quality and production is first rate. Some tracks are from previous releases but this time around they’re even better than the first time. There are 15 original tracks and covers of, Wrong, Lodi and Soulshine. I’m damn glad he covered Soulshine because it’s one of the best versions I’ve ever heard. I just love it, I played it 3 times in a row, then the Allman Brothers original and then Bob’s 2 more times. No kidding.
Bob’s talent shines on Soulshine but the real magic is in his originals (as always). Bob’s no stranger to the bottle and “Coming Down” and “Lost In A Fog” are autobiographical tales of true alcoholism and all the memories (for better or worse) that come with it. It’s a rock solid, dead honest reflection on the truths that most drinkers refuse to face. Bob tells it like it is, regardless of how painful it must be. “One Good Drunk” is a celebration of having lived through it and still finding familiar comfort in that same old vice. “Better Days” (Bob’s first ever original from 1989) is a self portrait of such brutally honest measure it brings tears to my eyes. The sweet mandolin (Chris Goins) makes it ever more emotional than ever.
Bob kicks it up and makes me smile like a preacher who just filled a bucket instead of a plate on tracks like “Smokers Blues” and “C’Mon Big Brother” an absolutely righteous tune that I think should be considered as the normal people’s national anthem.
He brings it all in focus with “Middle Aged Crazy” it’s Bob’s life’s story (even before he was middle aged he was crazy). All Bob’s originals are autobiographical but perhaps “The Next Best Thing” consolidates them into a clear self portrait the best. You get to see first hand just what kind of hand life’s dealt Bob with “Somehow We Survived” it’s a real life equivalent to Bucky Covington’s “A Different World”, Bucky’s went to the top 40, Bob’s is just as good but it damn sure didn’t pay as well.
Bob is joined by his partner in crime Chris Goins on all of the tracks, Chris really brings harmony and polish to Bob’s one man sound. Together they created the perfect “Bob Cushing” CD. I think anyone who appreciates great honest song writing will value this release.
You can get your hands on one by going to Bob’s web site but hopefully you’ll bother to get off your ass and go see the live show. That’s what Bob Cushing is all about. Besides, nothing can record Bob’s soul and when he’s on stage he’s more than happy to spill it out all over the floor for all to see.
The following article was printed in the May 2008 issue of Eastside Vibe:
What About Bob?
When we decided to throw a party for our 2nd year anniversary we knew we needed the best party bands, one of us said “What about Bob” and that’s what got it all started.
Back in the day seeing Bob Cushing live was common place for me. West side, Clifton, Newport, Price Hill, I made my way around all of it and it was always great to walk in to a corner pub or the Blue Note and see Bob. If you didn’t come by cab you knew you’d be needing one now. My personal favorites were the Thursdays at Chuggies (Timmy Kings bar, long gone now, but righteous in it’s day) Bob would sing “American Pie” to 200 drunk college kids at the top of his lungs and spew tequila spit on the whole front row and it was awesome. Bob can get a crowd rowdy with five strings on an out of tune $22 guitar.. It’s never come to that though. Bob’s show is second nature or maybe even first nature to him by now. Bob’s been called a Cincinnati legend in the making and maybe that’s because Bob lets it all hang out. He plays 6 or 7 shows a week and at every one of them he’s having as much fun as anyone else in the room. Maybe more.
He knows how to get a party started and his covers of Hank Williams Jr, Charlie Daniels, Allman Brothers and Skynryd are rowdy enough to make the original artists applaud and his folk covers of Dylan, John Prine, Jonathan Edwards and the Dead are played just as they were meant to be played... with soul and a couple shots.
Bob’s CD “Step Aside” has been in my personal shuffle for years now. It’s been scratched, dropped, spilled on, stepped on and occasionally abused for some time now but it still sounds as good as new... just like the man who made it.
Bob has had his share of hard knocks and yours and mine and hers and his... and looking back, they all seem almost necessary now. Without them Bob wouldn’t be Bob. Just take a look at the titles of the original tunes Bob has released over the past decade; “C’mon Big Brother, Middle Aged Crazy, Story Of My Life, One Good Drunk, Lost in a Fog, Better Days, They Won’t Change Me” and that’s a mere few of the originals he’s put out. You get the idea Bob’s partied pretty hard and fast more than a few times before. Well now he’s partying with us at our 2 year anniversary party at Sneaky Pete’s (Milford) on Saturday May 24th.
The following article was printed in the December 8th, 2005 issue of The Cincinnati Post:
'Middle Aged Crazy' defines Bob Cushing
By Rick Bird
As Bob Cushing sings on his new CD, "Middle Aged Crazy," "I'm no American Idol, no flavor of the hour/ One thing I'm sure of - I got stayin' power."
Indeed, if you've spent any time imbibing at local taverns the past decade or so you have likely heard Bob Cushing, from the Crow's Nest and Blue Note in Price Hill to the Village Tavern in Westchester and a few sports bars in between. The country rock troubadour has been one of those constantly gigging musicians playing eight nights a week somewhere.
His nine-cut autobiographical album is great storytelling fun. And if you don't know Bob, you will feel like his oldest friend after listening to his collection of rants, twisted love songs and often hilarious takes on hitting bottom for the now clean-and-sober working musician.
"I've been sober for over a year. But I'm still as out-to-lunch as I ever was. I'm just out-to-lunch naturally now," said Cushing, 42, with a laugh. "I've been doing 300 dates a year since 1989. I haven't had a day job since '89. God bless America,"
Cushing's CD is a tribute to that have-guitar-will-travel spirit as he sings on the title track, "I'm middle-aged crazy to be playing this young man's game/ You can have tomorrow while I live for today."
But the real soul of the album may be Cushing's "The Next Best Thing," a true anthem for the gigging musician. He sings: "Never sold out the Garden or made front page news/ Never played the 'Tonight' show nor headlined Bonnaroo/ I had the next best thing - I got nothing to lose."
Cushing easily moves from country to heartland rock with serious rants like "C'mon Big Brother" mixed with the near-novelty tune "I Need a Lover (Not a Mother)." (Cushing wants it to be known the song is not inspired by his wife.)
Cushing holds a CD release party for "Middle Aged Crazy" at 9 p.m. Saturday at Allyn's Café, 3538 Columbia Parkway, Columbia-Tusculum (no cover); www.bobcushing.com.
The following article was printed in CityBeat
By Mike Breen
Acoustic rocker/"one man band" Bob Cushing is something of a local music institution; practically any night of the week, you can catch Cushing playing at some bar in Greater Cincinnati. He leaves the cover songs behind and shows off his songwriting chops on his fifth CD, Middle Aged Crazy, which gets the CD-release-party treatment Saturday at Allyn's Café. Showtime is 9 p.m.
Cushing's songs toggle between new and classic Country and Heartland Rock, while, topically, his lyrics range from personal insights and revelations to humorous observations. His charming, personable stage persona transfers well to his songwriting; after listening to his tunes, you get the sense that you know (and like) the guy. On his last disc, Cushing began singing, tastefully and honestly, about his newfound sobriety and that continues with Crazy's rock-bottom-but-looking-up ode "The Bottle Don't Cut It." But it's Cushing's wit that is most affable and appealing. The optimistic song "Music and Lovin'" is reprised as the Bob & Tom Show-worthy bonus cut "Music and Pussy," while the shuffling "C'mon Big Brother" sarcastically implores George Orwell's not-so-fictional creation to help him along in life because "I'm too stupid to save myself."
Cushing gets some help on the disc from local performers including Danny Frazier, Ricky Nye and Chris Goins, and each of the supporting players help give the songs their crisp, accomplished feel. Cushing seems to be at peace with the fact that he won't ever be a superstar and, while a solid musical effort, Middle Aged Crazy probably won't have any record company execs gassing up the jet to come see him play at Patrick's Sports Bar. But the fact that Cushing is so comfortable with his current station in life comes through in every note on the album and it makes for a contagiously optimistic listening experience. Cushing is making a living playing music right now, and it appears he wouldn't have it any other way. As he sings on the title track, "I'm middle aged crazy/To be playing this young man's game/You can have tomorrow/While I live for today." (bobcushing.com)
The following article was printed in CityBeat
Songs in the Key of "Life"
Nearly everyone in Cincinnati has heard the tales of the Jag-pounding madman known as Bob Cushing. For years he has been a solo-acoustic juggernaut assaulting almost every bar in the city with his own brand of "Classic Rock." After years of self-torment, Bob Cushing has finally come to grips with himself, pulled his focus away from the bottle and placed it into his music. Cushing's latest CD, Story of My Life, is the memoir of a road-hardened Rock veteran with nerves of steel and a wit to match. All 13 songs feature local iconography and put a real "down-home" twist on typical singer/songwriter Rock. The song "One Good Drunk" has a Country flavor that fits well in the aura of the entire album. Other songs on the album (like "Restless Kind") have a real Dylan or Springsteen feel to them and keep the album leaning towards a more artistic Rock feel. Who could put it past Bob Cushing to write a Hip Hop song? Apparently no one, because the last track on the record, "Hip Hop Ho-down," is exactly that, proving to the world that he is willing to leave no stone unturned. (Cushing, however, doesn't seem to be the genre's biggest fan.) If the Rap song wasn't enough, Cushing is sure to raise the eyebrows of activists with his ode to alternative lifestyles, "Hillbilly Fag Bar," which is receiving local radio airplay. The album's pinnacle, however, is "Better Days," a beautiful recollection of triumph and tragedy which sums up Cushing's entire story in one song. Cushing has focused his intentions and ability into the one thing an artist can always rely on: their talent. Cushing will celebrate the release of Story of My Life on Friday at the Crow's Nest.
(Nathan Linville) Written by Mike Breen
The following article was printed in the Thursday, March 28, 2002 issue of The Cincinnati Post
Clubs; CD Releases
Bob Cushing, one of the area's veteran singer-songwriters and all around hell-raiser, has released a fun seven-cut CD, “Step Aside.” The title track plays as Cushing's anthem to the power of beer hall rock ‘n’ roll with his little lecture to rock stars who feel a need to apologize for their success. Cushing growls on the driving rocker, “Step aside/I grow so tired of hearing you whine.”
Cushing explained the song was letting off steam about his pet peeve. “I wrote that because I keep hearing these guys like Eddie Vedder and [Curt Cobain] keep saying, ‘I never asked to be a rock star...this really sucks...being famous is so hard.’ In the meantime you got a bunch of guys like me hacking their way through bars for 20 years.”
Cushing brings his free-wheeling writing style to a couple of novelty songs including his hilarious “Hip Hop Ho-down,” a traditional square dance tune done in a rap style. And there's his lament to those who overindulge called “In the Fog.”
Cushing, who is best known as a solo act, assembled a great local all-star band to rock out for the recording. It's anchored by former Overdue guitarist Chris Goins' soaring, searing licks. Also playing is Ricky Nye (piano), Karen Addie (fiddle), [John Castetter (bass)] and Brian Baverman (drums). On a sad note, this is the last work featuring veteran drummer Red MacCormack, who died Jan. 26 at the age of 39.
“It was literally the last thing he did before he died,” Cushing said. “It was rough for me. He was one of my best friends.”
Cushing figures he's called so many clubs home over the years he's doing a “CD release tour” starting Wednesday at the Crow's Nest in Price Hill, followed by gigs April 4 at the Blue Note, Price Hill, April 5 at The Olde Village Tavern, West Chester, and April 7 at the Strasse Haus, Covington.
Written by Rick Bird, Cincinnati Post
The following article was printed in the April 11 - May 1 issue of The WestSider Magazine
New Releases; Bob Cushing: Step Aside
Have you ever watched one of those movies where you see a car cruising down some sunset beach boulevard and there's a folksy kind of song playing in the background that fits the scene just perfectly? At the end of the movie, you stick around as the credits roll up the screen to see who performed that particular track so you can go buy it at the store. Bob Cushing's latest CD titled, “Step Aside,” contains a track named, “Restless Kind,” that is reminiscent of one of those background movie tracks. Bob performed this track at the Acoustic Round Table on March 4, 2002, as a special dedication to the late Bruce “Red” McCormack. The lyrics to this unique song are applicable to many of us. Listen to the message, and you'll know what I mean. Musicians often derive their lyrics from personal experience, and Bob's lyrics are no exception. Track 3 is a perfect example: “I spent fifteen years and ten thousand beers lost in a fog,” is a direct testament to the many years that Bob has dedicated his life to entertaining people all over the city. Most of Bob's followers only get to enjoy the acoustic version of Bob's talents. However, this CD includes many notable musicians including Chris Goins, Ricky Nye, John Castetter, Red MacCormack, “Gigs” Baverman and Karen Addie. Karenâ€™s fiddle adds a melodic, almost trance like sound to Track 5, “Open Your Eyes Part II.” If you truly are a fan of Bob Cushing's, you need to add this latest CD to your collection. Of course, the album wouldn't represent Bob Cushing if it didn't include some sort of humor or satire. These are both clearly defined on the last two tracks of the CD with his honky-tonk classic, “Hillbilly Fag Bar,” and his most recent satire, “Hip Hop Ho-Down.” Either of these tunes could easily make the Bob and Tom Morning Show. But as we all know, nationally syndicated radio shows seldom support local music. Bummer.
Next time you're out and about, stop by and check out Bob's “No Rest for the Wicked Tour!”
You can pick up a copy of Bob's latest release at any of his area performances.
Listen or order online at:
Tony Lange, Publisher
The following article was printed in the April 3, 2001 issue of The WestSider
BOB CUSHING; 2001: A Spaced Odyssey
With the advancements in biotechnology, imagine the ability to pick and choose the characteristics of your future off-spring. With that in mind let's step back in time to the day Bob Cushing was conceived. If the technology were available back then, Bob Cushing's father would be a combination of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. His mother would've been a combination of Janis Joplin, MaMa "Cass" Elliott and Tina Turner. This is what you'd find at one of Bob's acoustic performances. I'm not exactly sure where the passion comes from. It could be his love of music or perhaps one of the many Jaeger shots that are fed to him by his loyal [followers]. Either way, the only benefactors are those in the room at the time. Bob has a unique way of presenting favorite classics like "Bobby McGee," "Small Town," "Whippin' Post," "Casey Jones," "Skating Away," and many more. His gravely voice and lightning fingers deliver a sound that entices you to sing every word as if you were the one playing on stage and sometimes people think they should be the ones singing. "I had a guy one time tell me that he could sing and play better than me. If that were the case, I'd be sitting in his seat and not up there on stage."
Bob is about as West Side as they come. He dropped out of Western Hills High School in 1982 to persue his love of music, women and Jaegermeister (not necessarily in that order). Learning as he played and playing as he learned, he carved a niche for himself in the Cincinnati music biz that has enabled him to do what he loves the most - play music.
Along the way, Cushing has had the opportunity of opening for some pretty major acts. Bands like 38 Special, Rick Emmit, The Guess Who, Lonnie Mack, April Wine and countless others. Bob wasn't always a "Solo Act." He played with a band in the late 80's called Relapse. That's just about what you'll feel like doing after hearing a few songs by Bob. That is, relapse back to the days when music was played by artists who understood their instruments. I say this because today so many performers are using synthesized instruments. Bob brings you back to the day when music was real. That's not to say that I don't enjoy music with all the bells and whistles, it's just good to hear raw talent every now and then.
Cushing has a couple of CDs of his own which are listed above. His talents can be heard on his originals like "Better Days," probably his most requested song. He also adds a little humor to his performances with songs like "Hillbilly Fag Bar." Don't get bent out shape if you're one of those types - the song doesn't really slam on homosexuality - but it does poke fun at the redneck ways that some people display in your typical roadhouse bar.
Bob has been playing for quite some time. He's definitely a one man, in-your-face kind of rocker. He's unique to himself and true to his followers. Next time you see his name up on the marquee, stop in and check him out. You won't be disappointed.
The following article was printed in the July, 1997 issue of Shock Value Music Webzine
Artist of the Month
By C.J. Cauley
This month's artist of the month is Bob Cushing, a solo artist from Cincinnati, Ohio. Bob earns his keep five days a week in local clubs and bars. He's been on the music scene for over 15 years. Cushing has had two releases on his own, and recently signed with J-Bird Records, a revolutionary new world wide web label. Check out their web page:
Never heard of him? Well, in his long awaited first release "I Never Heard Of You Either," Cushing relives the cool classic rock sounds of days gone by in his original compositions. A few of those tunes were embellished in his second release "Now that We've Met" along with new favorites. Bob's rugged voice, and gifted fingers combined with his heartfelt lyrics electrify his classic style. Both releases contain musicians from some of Cincinnati's most popular bands. Cushing's style echoes with the influences of classic greats like Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan.
Probably the most requested song at Cushing's venues is "Better Days", featured on both releases. My personal favorite, this contagious song expresses the frustration of that generation stuck between the babyboomers and generation X. As most artists, Cushing draws his lyrics from personal experience. I don't think there is a person alive that can't relate to "Time Slips Away", except maybe Dick Clark, but hey. From upbeat tunes like "Something to Live For" to melancholy tunes like "Open Your Eyes", Cushing's cool, smooth lyrics about coming of age, life experiences, and love, mixed with his original music makes for great tunage.
At 30-something, Cushing still relates to his often younger following, with lyrics like "learned more about life from some old rock n' roll records then I ever did learn in school". Ain't that the truth?! If you are in the Cincinnati area, Cushing is a must see. I had the good fortune to catch him opening for the 'Guess Who' at the Blue Note in Cincinnati. His live show mixes his original tunes with classic favorites, and his messed up humor. Perhaps the most telling song is Cushing's "One Man Band". As the song goes, such is the life of not-so-rich-and-famous music makers: "A one man band and a song, the pay's all right, but the road is long..." Keep rockin' Bob.