Legendary Bluesman Otis Rush will return here to his hometown next week for the unveiling of a marker to be erected in his honor near the historic railroad depot where he boarded a train 58 years ago bound for Chicago.

The Grammy award winner and his wife, Masaki, plan to attend the unveiling of the Mississippi Blues Trail marker here on Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. A reception will follow inside the newly renovated depot.

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

The Blues Trail is a project of the Mississippi Blues Commission which was established in 2004.

"We are delighted that Otis Rush and his family will be present to receive this honor," said Alex T. Thompson, director of the Heritage Trails Program of the Mississippi Development Authority, which is hosting the marker ceremony along with the Blues Commission and the Community Development Partnership.

Rush is regarded as one of the premier Blues artists of the past 50 years, Thomas said.

"Although he never became as famous as many of the performers he inspired, he has certainly been a 'guitar hero' to many guitarists, bands and fans, including Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughan," he said.

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.

Rush grew up on a farm in Neshoba County where his mother, Julia Boyd, worked as a sharecropper during the 1930s.

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

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, earlier this year from his home on Chicago.

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 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.

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.

More than 100 markers will eventually span the entire state as part of the Blues Trail.

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.