• 75°

Tony Bush performs gospel concert

The Water Valley community is still buzzing about a weekend event that brought the red carpet out in town.

The Civic Center was alive with praise Saturday night when a Nashville performer with local ties performed during a live studio recording.

Tony Bush and Tha Deacs were the featured performers after an introduction by Cedric King.

“We’re here to witness history in the making — the first live recording for Brother Tony Bush,” King said. “I’m sure everybody who’s in Water Valley and the area can really appreciate this production being in Water Valley.”

Nashville native Antonio Bush, 27, grew up studying musicians from the front row of his church.

Bush never had formal drum lessons, but learned to play by ear.

“My earliest memory, at the age of 5, I begin playing drums making $100 a Sunday,” he said. “My Granny bought me my first drum set.”

Bush’s mother and grandmother supported his music, and he became a sought-after drummer, who has played with many artists in different musical genres.

Some include former American Idol contestant Mandisa, gospel singer Martha Munizzi, gospel great Daryl Coley and sax legend Kirk Whalum.

Bush attended Maplewood High School in Nashville.

“After school, I began to travel and do music full time,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to travel/play for Kurt Carr, James Fortune, The Williams Singers, Vicki Yohe and others. I was blessed to tour with Wess Morgan, pastor Tim Rogers and the Fellas.”

Bush said he now tours with Harvey Watkins Jr. and The Canton Spirituals.

“I come from music,” he said. “It was pretty much bestowed in me. However, my passion for it came natural.

“My biggest inspiration is AyRon Lewis and James Hodges. These two men took me under their wing and nurtured me.

“James helped me become the man I am today, and AyRon helped me become the musician I am today. He will also be my producer for this record.”

Bush said his first professional performance was in November 2013.

“I was very nervous, as I was only use to playing bass and drums or singing background vocals,” he said. “After this night, I felt like I could accomplish anything as an artist.”

Bush, who has been performing professionally for more than a decade as a musician and two years as an artist, said his first tour was with Wes Morgan, an American gospel musician and pastor.

“We traveled all over, doing what we love,” he said.

His band Tony Bush and Tha Deacs is comprised of Willie Johnson, Courtney Walker, Darnell Smith, Tyrel Walker and Randy Carlton.

Bush said the Water Valley performance Saturday night was the band’s first live recording. They recorded an entire album.

“My wife, Monique Townes-Bush, is originally from Water Valley,” he said. “I’ve done many things in the city of Nashville. I wanted to bring this to her hometown.”

Bush said the album title hasn’t been decided. He also released a mix-tape Saturday night for $10.

“I want to just please God, being the best musician, singer, and preacher that He has called me to be,” he said. “I know God has a plan for my music to reach the nations. I’m just following Him.”

Bush said his music tells a story.

“Either I’ve been through it, or I’m coming out,” he said. “It’s how I respond to trials and tribulations, encouraging the next person by letting them know they can make it.”

Bush said he hoped people left the event feeling inspired.

“Whatever your dream is, whatever your purpose is, I want this night to be an example that anything is possible,” he said. “A lot of people said I wouldn’t make it, but thanks be to God, he has blessed me with a beautiful praying wife who pushes me, supports me, prays for me, and together with God we know anything is possible.

“Never stop believing, never stop dreaming. After this night, I want everyone — not just singers and musicians — but everyone to get back to it, whatever it is.”

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

email author More by LaReeca