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Sam Bush

Sam Bush extended the musical capabilities of the mandolin and the fiddle to incorporate a seamless blend of bluegrass, rock, jazz, and reggae. As the founder and leader of the New Grass Revival, Bush pioneered and guided the evolution of modern hill country music. Together with the bluegrass supergroup Strength in Numbers, he pushed the traditions even further. During a five-year stint with the Nash Ramblers, he provided a diverse range of textures for the songs of Emmylou Harris. On his own, he has continued to explore an eclectic musical spectrum. Bush was exposed to country music and bluegrass at an early age through his father's record collection and, later, by Flatt & Scruggs' television show. Buying his first mandolin at the age of 11, his musical interest was further piqued when he attended the Roanoke Bluegrass Festival in 1965. A child prodigy on the fiddle, he placed first at the national fiddle contest in Weister, Idaho three times in a row. Together with childhood friends Wayne Stewart and Alan Munde, later of Country Gazette, he formed a band and recorded his first album, Poor Richard's Almanac, in 1969. The same year, he made his debut appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

Attending the Fiddlers Convention at Union Grove, North Carolina in 1970, Bush overheard the pioneering progressive bluegrass band the New Deal String Band. Inspired by their rock-flavored approach to bluegrass, he formed the New Grass Revival in 1972. Over the next 17 years, Bush and the New Grass Revival revolutionized the music of the hill country, incorporating everything from gospel and reggae to rock and modern jazz into their tradition-rooted sound. The New Grass Revival went through numerous personnel changes, with Bush remaining as the sole original member. Bassist and vocalist John Cowan joined in 1973, with banjo ace Béla Fleck and acoustic guitarist Pat Flynn being enlisted in the early '80s. In 1980, the group toured with Leon Russell, opening the shows and backing Russell during his headlining set. A live performance at the Perkins Palace in Pasadena, California, was released as Leon Russell & the New Grass Revival: The Live Album in 1981.

Beginning in 1980, Bush and Cowan periodically jammed with the Nashville-based Dockbusters Blues Band. Bush recorded his debut solo album, Late as Usual, four years later. In 1989, Bush and Fleck joined Mark O'Connor, Jerry Douglas, and Edgar Meyer in an all-star bluegrass band, Strength in Numbers, at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado. When Fleck and Cowan elected to leave the New Grass Revival in 1989, Bush disbanded the group and joined Emmylou Harris' Nash Ramblers. He toured and recorded with Harris and the band for the next five years. In 1995, Bush worked as a sideman with Lyle Lovett and Bela Fleck's Flecktones. He formed his own band, featuring Cowan and ex-Nash Ramblers Jon Randall and Larry Atamanuick, shortly before recording his second solo album, Glamour & Grits, in 1996. He released his next album, Howlin' at the Moon, in 1998, with many of the same players and special guests, including Harris, Fleck, and J.D. Crowe. In the winter of 1997, Bush and the New Grass Revival reunited for an appearance on The Conan O'Brien Show as the backup band for Garth Brooks. On March 28, 1998, Bush's hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky, honored him with a special "Sam Bush Day" celebration.

Bush continued to be a much in-demand session player as the 21st century dawned, and continued to release solo projects. Ice Caps: Peaks of Telluride appeared in 2000 from Sugar Hill, followed by a collaboration with David Grisman, Hold On, We're Strummin', from Acoustic Disc in 2003. Two more solo efforts appeared from Sugar Hill: King of My World in 2004 and Laps in Seven in 2006. A year later his first live DVD, On the Road, was released. In 2009, the ironically titled Circles Around Me offered several instrumentals showcasing his unparalleled skills on the mandolin. He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Americana Music Association that same year.

In 2010, the Kentucky state legislature passed a resolution that named his hometown of Bowling Green as the "Birthplace of Newgrass," and Bush himself as "Father of Newgrass." He hosted the 22nd annual International Bluegrass Music Association Awards in 2011 and continued to play locally and on the festival circuit. In 2014, he and Kathryn Caine co-released A Very Love and Mercy Christmas, a collection of songs played during Sunday services at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. A year later, a documentary film, Revival: The Sam Bush Story co-directed by Kris Wheeler and Wayne Franklin, was released on the festival circuit. In the summer of 2016, Sugar Hill issued Storyman, comprised of 11 new original songs. The album featured guest vocal appearances from Harris, Alison Krauss, and Deborah Holland. ~ Craig Harris
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Circles Around Me

1. Circles Around Me

2. Diamond Joe

3. You Left Me Alone

4. The Old North Woods

5. Roll On Buddy, Roll On

6. The Ballad Of Stringbean And Estelle

7. Blue Mountain

8. Out On The Ocean

9. Gold Heart Locket

10. Junior Heywood

11. Midnight On The Stormy Deep

12. Apple Blossom

13. Souvenir Bottles

14. Whisper My Name

x

Track List: Laps In Seven

1. The River's Gonna Run

2. Bringing In The Georgia Mail

3. The Dolphin Dance

4. On The Road

5. Ridin' That Bluegrass Train

6. I Wanna Do Right

7. Where There's A Road

8. New Country

9. Ballad For A Soldier

10. River Take Me

11. White Bird

12. Laps In Seven

x

Track List: King Of My World

1. Puppies 'N Knapsacks

2. A Better Man

3. Eight More Miles To Louisville

4. They're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

5. Bananas

6. King Of The World

7. Spirit Is The Journey

8. Majestic

9. Bless His Heart

10. The Mahavishnu Mountain Boys

11. The Wizard Of Oz

x

Track List: Howlin' At The Moon

1. Ozzie & Max

2. Howlin' At The Moon

3. Big Rabbit

4. Face Tomorrow

5. Funk 42

6. Hold On

7. Cloverleaf Rag

8. Beaver Creek Mansion

9. Crossing The Transippi

10. Go With The Flow

11. Harbor Docks

12. Mr. Freddie

13. Song For Roy

14. Take Me Out To The Ball Game

x

Track List: Glamour & Grits

1. Whayasay

2. Same Ol' River

3. All Night Radio

4. Stingray

5. The Ballad Of Spider John

6. Watson Allman

7. Is This Love

8. Brilliancy

9. Spooky Lane

10. Ol' Joe Clark

11. The Lord Came Unto Me

12. (One Night In Old) Galway

x

Track List: Late As Usual

1. Big Mon

2. Last Letter Home

3. Norman And Nancy

4. Russian Rag

5. Leather Britches

6. Diadem

7. Sailin' Shoes

8. Crooked Smile

9. Broadway

10. Samanda Lynn

11. Funk 55

x

Track List: Ice Caps: Peaks Of Telluride (live)

x

Track List: Storyman

1. Play By Your Own Rules

2. Everything Is Possible

3. Transcendental Meditation Blues

4. Greenbrier

5. Lefty’s Song

6. Carcinoma Blues

7. Bowling Green

8. Handmics Killed Country Music

9. Where’s My Love

10. It’s Not What You Think

11. I Just Wanna Feel Something

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you have started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
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C u at merlefest
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Great voice!!! And a true balladeer..
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kirkjohnr4
It's Weiser,Idaho not Weister !!!!!
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Love Sam's music he's in a league all his own
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Sam is freakin' amazing!!!!! !
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I'm a fan of 45+ years!! Love this soulful music!!
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Sam bush is the damn man
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Man im new to this genre of music. But I gotta tell you. This song was so entertaining it literally put me there. I love it. Our country is so great and our music even better....gr e a t music sir
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one hell of a musician!!!! !
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Sam Bush never ceases to amaze me!
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I hate it
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Sam is the best and brilliancy is one of my favorite little tunes from Sam. Stingray gets the attention because of the speed and power of his play, but brilliancy is such a fun and bright little gem.
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saw sam bush live with curtis burch....fkn awesome
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trwiseiii
Can't make it to Telluride this year, but we LOVE him and can't wait until he makes back through NE Ohio. A WAY underappreci a t e d talent. Saw Union Station last Saturday and would take Sam over them any day.
Report as inappropriate
bsandolin
When they coined the phrase 'Life of the Party' they were talking about Sam Bush. I've seen him at least fifty times and every show is energetic and warm. He is the X factor that always brings everyone together. You can tell he loves what he does and what he does is magical. Brad Sand
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joiegrrlherb a l s
I've been a huge fan for 40 *gasp* years! He absolutely KILLED at the 30A Songwriters' Festival in FLA this weekend! Amazing talent!
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scott38148
Sam Bush is the man! One of Bowling Green's finest. Love his alternate syles.
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i love music! and i love sam bush creations!
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Had tickets to a Jazz Series about 15+ years ago, and one of the acts canceled and were replaced with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones w/Sam Bush. The crowd was very skeptical when the show started, but WOW they brought the house down!!! Bela, Sam, Victor, and Futureman wonover a lot of fans that night!!
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Sweet.
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he does jonny clegg awesomely
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Goin' to see him high in telluride in a couple of weeks!!!!
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ackbluefish
GreyFox 2010 Thank-youuuu u Sam Bush
Report as inappropriate
Sam Rocks !!
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slapshot1894
I really enjoy his music.
Report as inappropriate
Best of the best. You make the music happen.
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khurley75
I ran into Sam Bush at a liquor store in downtown Nashville and got to shake this guys hand. He is very nice and approachable . I'm standing there looking for a bottle of whiskey, and there is Sam, doing the same...all I could say was, "Is your name Sam?". He said something like: Yes I am.
Report as inappropriate
I would rather meet Sam Bush than the President, his music makes me forget about my troubles!
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gry fox 07 was trippy
Report as inappropriate
I've always loved bluegrass styles but this is really fun to listen to!

Paulette Le Pore Motzko
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rgspops
We were at The Ice Caps in Telluride 2000. Great show none better.
Report as inappropriate
Sam Bush is as good as it gets!
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like it
Report as inappropriate
Gotta like Sam and his band
Report as inappropriate
I rated this one a little to quick
Ended up liking it

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