Tom Rush got his start, like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, playing the Cambridge folk music circuit back in the 1960s. His repertoire, composed of his own smart songs and beautiful interpretations of others, is rich in folk and blues influence.
Fans know that Rush, 62, has always been a champion of new talent, and, for a while there, he was one of the few artists singing songs by an unknown Joni Mitchell. (Oh, sure, sure, now everyone loves Joni!)
Rush doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves for his stellar acoustic guitar playing and wry sense of humor. Good thing he recently released Trolling for Owls, a CD of comedy songs and stories available from his Web site, with favorites such as Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian. It truly demonstrates Rush's kooky attitude, something that comes across in a live setting.
Tom Rush performs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St. $16 general, $14 student or center member. (727) 942-5605.
_ GINA VIVINETTO, Times pop music critic