Rusty Bladen is setting his sights on Blakes of the Hollow this Friday (August 2) for two shows straight off the back of welcoming a bit of Fermanagh into his family home following his involvement with the Enniskillen Ulster Project.

Rusty is a professional musician hailing from Madison, Indiana, a small town in southern Indiana similar in size to Enniskillen. Rusty decided to visit Enniskillen after his two children; Jackson and Lydia hosted teens from Enniskillen. Five teens over the past three years have made the Bladen house their home.

Rusty commented that he is looking forward to his first visit to Ireland and re-uniting with his ‘Ulster Children’ and familiar faces from years past.

He said that when they decided to visit Ireland as a family he knew that he had to play a gig somewhere in in the country.

Rusty’s career began in 1981 when he began playing music. In the late 1980’s he formed a band called Aura, mostly playing pop and rock covers. The band later split and Rusty Bladen and his band were born.

Rusty released his first album in 1993 which was well received across the United States, including his lead single, ‘Are you happy now?’

Rusty rose to prominence when his music was selected to feature in the major motion picture ‘Madison: The Movie,’ a 2005 film set in his hometown which follows the story of the annual hydroplane racing competition, his song ‘Ride that River’ was featured in the film and has now become the anthem of Madison, and its famous ‘Regatta weekend’.

Audience members in Blakes will be treated to a variety of music; with a mixture of both Irish and American music. Bladen chuckled as he recounted a story of playing a gig in an Irish pub in Florida and changing the name on his posters to ‘Rusty O’Bladen’ so he could feel more Irish.

He spoke at length about the influences on his music; John Melloncamp, The Eagles, Van Morrison and Thin Lizzy. Rusty’s set will be more toned down than his usual style as he will be performing an acoustic set.

He commented that he hoped to have his son, Jackson join him on stage as well as his wife Andra – the subject of his song ‘All from her Mama’ and perhaps a few of his Irish friends from previous years.

Rusty Bladen will be performing two shows (8pm and 10pm) in Blakes of the Hollow on Friday, August 2.