Tom Rush began his career playing folk clubs in the Boston area in the mid-60s. He grew into an accomplished songwriter as well as an unusually gifted interpreter. He’s credited to be one of the first to record songs by unknown artists such as James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Joni Mitchell. His landmark album No Regrets, released in 1968 includes songs by all those aforementioned artists. In 1970, Rush released a self-titled record that included his stunning recording of David Wiffen’s “Lost My Driving Wheel.” The recording features David Bromberg on dobro and Paul Griffin's haunting organ.
It’s been said that all stories lead back to The Bible or The Odyssey. “Driving Wheel” owes a nod to its Homeric narrative of a man desperate to be with the one he loves. As with many great songs, it leaves a lot of the details for the listener to fill in. But this track has a profound feeling of pain and loneliness. It uses every instrument to augment the narrator’s plight. Bromberg’s dobro is spare, but each phrase is necessary. This could be the hungover character from Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” facing another night of wondering why things lead to his painful plight. Rush’s vocal says so much yet manages to between being understated yet intense. A classic.