Sam Bush, man­dolin mas­ter and Fa­ther of New­grass plays Walker Theatre. SATUR­DAY

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORT

Sam Bush, The Fa­ther of New­grass and King of Tel­luride, has long since es­tab­lished him­self as roots roy­alty.

But in­stead of kick­ing back and soak­ing up hon­ors — such as an Amer­i­cana Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion Life­time Achieve­ment Award, Gram­mys and In­ter­na­tional Blue­grass Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion tro­phies — Bush still strives to cre­ate some­thing new.

Bush’s life­time of chan­nel­ing his en­ergy into mu­sic has led to stylis­tic in­no­va­tions that changed the course of blue­grass mu­sic.

“I didn’t get into mu­sic to win awards,” he says in an on­line bi­og­ra­phy. “I’m just now start­ing to get some­where. I love to play and the older I get, the more I love it.

“If I’ve been cited as an in­flu­ence, then I’m re­ally flat­tered be­cause I still have my in­flu­ences that I look up to,” Bush says. “I’m glad that I’m in there some­where.”

Bush and his band will per­form in Walker Theatre on Satur­day, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m.

His mu­sic fuses blue­grass with jazz, rock, blues, funk and other styles. He’s the co- founder of the genre-bend­ing New Grass Re­vival and an in-de­mand mu­si­cian who has played with every­one from Em­my­lou Har­ris and Bela Fleck to Lyle Lovett and Garth Brooks.

“In the acous­tic world, I’ve been pretty lucky to play with al­most ev­ery one of my heroes. I’ve got­ten to play with Bill Mon­roe, Doc Wat­son and Earl Scruggs. I’ve been to the moun­tain,” says Bush.

Now he’s watch­ing and prais­ing the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion of man­dolin mu­si­cians.

“Chris Thile, Wayne Ben­son, Shawn Lane, Matt Flin­ner, Ron­nie McCoury, Mike Mar­shall—they play in ways that I can’t play,” he says. “I’m hop­ing to be around for the next gen­er­a­tion that comes along af­ter that group. That’s go­ing to be some­thing.” But he still has goals. “I want to grow as a song­writer, as a song col­lab­o­ra­tor,” he says. “There are still a lot of things I haven’t dis­cov­ered about play­ing man­dolin. I want to be se­cure in the styles that I know how to play well, but I also want to ex­plore other styles that I haven’t learned yet.”


Sam Bush

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