Saturday, March 2 @ 8:00 pm
This Bluegrass legend and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire will take you on a musical journey like no other, showcasing his innovative fusion of genres and spellbinding stage presence. Don’t miss this unforgettable night of live music with Sam Bush at the historic Newberry Opera House.
Sam Bush grew up on a cattle farm in Bowling Green, Kentucky in the post-war 1950s. His love of music came immediately, encouraged by his parents’ record collection and, particularly, by his father Charlie, a fiddler, who organized local jams. Bush was a three-time national champion in the junior division of the National Oldtime Fiddler’s Contest as a teenager. He recorded an instrumental album, Poor Richard’s Almanac when he was a senior in high school.
After graduating from high school in 1970, he met Ebo Walker and Lonnie Peerce while working at the Holiday Inn. They asked him to join them in Louisville to play five nights a week with the Bluegrass Alliance. Bush played guitar in the group, then began playing mandolin after recruiting guitarist Tony Rice to the fold. Following a fallout with Peerce in 1971, Bush and his Alliance mates, Walker, Courtney Johnson, and Curtis Burch, formed the New Grass Revival. Walker left soon after, replaced temporarily by Butch Robins, with the quartet solidifying around the arrival of bassist John Cowan.
New Grass Revival was shunned by some traditionalists; however, the band quickly became a favorite of Rock audiences. The band toured with Leon Russel in 1973 and played Telluride, Colorado in 1975, forming a connection with the region and its fans that has prospered for 45 years. Bush was the newgrass commando, incorporating a variety of genres into the repertoire. The group issued five albums in their first seven years. They became Leon Russell’s backing band in 1979. A three-record contract with Capitol Records and a conscious turn to the country market took the Revival to new commercial heights. Bush survived a life-threatening bout with cancer and returned to the group that’d become more popular than ever. They released chart-climbing singles, made videos, earned Grammy nominations, and, at their zenith, called it quits.
Bush worked the next five years with Emmylou Harris’ Nash Ramblers, then a stint with Lyle Lovett. He took home three-straight IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year awards, 1990-92, (and a fourth in 2007). After a quarter-century of making music with New Grass Revival and collaborating with other bands, Sam Bush went solo in 1996. He’s released seven albums and a live DVD over the past two decades. In 2009, the Americana Music Association awarded Bush the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist. His performances are annual highlights of the festival circuit, with Bush’s joyous perennial appearances at the town’s famed bluegrass fest earning him the title, “King of Telluride.”
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