Until recently, it wasn't very well known here that legendary Bluesman Otis Rush is a Neshoba County native. But on Thursday, he's coming home, so roll out the red carpet and strike up the band.

In a 10 a.m., ceremony at the train depot where he departed for Chicago as a teen-ager in about 1950, the state will unveil an official Mississippi Blues Trail marker since Rush is regarded as one of the premier Blues artists of the past 50 years.

Although he never became as famous as many of the performers he inspired, he has certainly been a "guitar hero" to many artists, bands, and fans, including Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, said Alex T. Thompson, director of the Heritage Trails Program for the Mississippi Development Authority, which is hosting the ceremony, along with the Blues Commission and the Community Development Partnership.

"This is where my soul came from, this is where my faith started," Rush said of Neshoba County.

He was born in a rural area near Neshoba on April 29, 1935, according to family sources. Biographies often give his birth date as 1934, but no birth certificate exists.

His career came to fruition in Chicago in the 1950s, but was shaped by the hardships and troubles of his early life in Mississippi.

"I am very honored and very humbled by this. This is where my roots began and this is a big part of my history. It is history for a lot of us. This place has made some of the strongest, hardest working class of people and families that you don't hear about too much. It deserves to receive recognition," he said.

What an honor for this community to claim Otis Rush as a native son.

Welcome home, Otis!