Life was very simple for legendary Bluesman and Grammy award winner Otis Rush growing up on a farm in Neshoba County where his mother worked as a sharecropper during the 1930s.

He uses the word simple to describe his life in Chicago today.

Despite his success, Rush, 72, said he never forgot about Philadelphia: "This is where my soul came from, this is where my faith started."

Rush's contributions to his hometown and state were not forgotten either, as a marker will be erected here in his honor as part of the Mississippi Blues Trail.

The marker will pay homage to Rush and give visitors a sense of the time and place in which his music flourished through text, historical photographs and lyrics.

Rush is a self-taught musician who began playing the guitar at the age of 8. He moved to Chicago in 1949 where he was introduced to the more urban sounds of the Blues. He made a decision to become a performer after he saw Muddy Waters for the first time.

"My career is a big blessing for me," he said. "I have been fortunate to work with some of the greatest musicians. I have traveled all over the world and been blessed with my fans."

Philadelphia holds bittersweet memories for the Chicago resident.

"It reminds me of struggles and then my family. Life was not easy for us but I knew if I made it there, I could make it anywhere," Rush said.

As a youngster, Rush and his siblings had to help their mother in the fields.

"All of us kids pitched in and helped take care of each other. I did not go to school much because I was needed in the fields. Only if it rained, we got a chance to go to school. But when the rain stopped, boss came to get us," he said.

Despite the hard work, the children always found ways to have fun.

"We played marbles, pitched rocks and checkers. Sometime we went fishing or hunting. Life was pretty basic," Rush said.

Rush left Mississippi when he was about 14-years-old and went to Chicago to visit his sister.

"She took me to see Muddy Waters play and I was amazed. I later went back to Mississippi and sold my land," he said.

Rush returned to Chicago and worked in a meat factory and as a truck driver. At night, he practiced his guitar.

Rush recorded for the Cobra label from 1956-59 and had hits with "All Your Love I Miss Lovin'," "I Can't Quit You Baby" and "Double Trouble."

He recorded several singles on the Chess Records label in the early 1960s and played in others cities in the U. S. and Europe.

He signed with Mercury Records in 1976 and remained with the label for 20 years.

In 1999, he earned a Grammy award for best traditional Blues album for his 1998 release, "Any Place I'm Goin'."

Rush released his latest CD, "Live and From San Francisco," in 2006 on Blues Express Records which features some of his greatest live performances.

He met his wife, Masaki, when he was on tour in Japan in 1975. They have two daughters, Lena and Sophia, and five grandchildren.

"They are all very special and dear to me," said Rush, who is recovering from a recent stroke. "I gain a lot of support from my family. We have had good times as well as bad but we always stick together. That is what I have learned and this is what I teach my children."

Rush said his older brother, Leroy, lived in Philadelphia his entire life until his death in December.

"As far as I know, no one else is there. Everyone has left," he said of his extended family.

Rush said he was honored that a marker would be erected here to recognize his contributions.

"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.

Rush wanted people in his hometown to know that he is still a very simple man who loves good country soul food which he taught his wife to cook.

"I am also a big fan of Channel 6 WCIU and I am still waiting to get on the 'Price is Right' with Bob Barker!" he said.

More than 100 markers will eventually span the entire state as part of the Blues Trail, a project of the Mississippi Blues Commission which was established in 2004.

The trail, which is expected to attract tourists year round, has a threefold purpose:

• To recognize the important contribution made by individual artists as well as the places that created the Blues;

• To encourage pride and heritage education in local communities;

• To increase tourism.

The trail, to be developed in phases as funding becomes available, will be composed of scores of historical markers and interpretive sites.

Phase One of the project consists of nine markers that were funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support provided by the Mississippi Development Authority/Tourism Division, Delta State University and local conventions and visitors bureaus.

The first markers were erected in the Delta honoring such Bluesmen as Charley Patton, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson and historic sites like Nelson Street in Greenville, the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale and WGRM Radio Studio in Greenwood where B. B. King was first heard on the air.

All the sites will eventually employ the latest technology to allow visitors to hear the sounds associated with each location. A detailed Blues Trail map will also be available that will provide driving directions, GPS coordinates and basic information for each site.

The actual site for the Rush's marker has not been selected, tourism officials said.