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