If you’re a bluegrass or Americana music fan, you know that the “The Bush League” doesn’t have anything to do with baseball. Instead that is the moniker intrepid fans of Sam Bush proudly wear.
The Grammy Award winning multi-instrumentalist has several of his own monikers including Father of Newgrass and the King of Telluride.
But when you meet the mandolin virtuoso, he’s just Sam. And he’s happiest in an old t-shirt and worn jeans on a stage playing with anyone of his friends and/or members the Sam Bush Band. And friends, well, he’s got a few. Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, John Cowan, Tony Rice, Del McCoury, Alison Krauss, Edgar Meyer and Emmy Lou Harris, among many, many others.
In an interview during MerleFest 2014, Bush talked about how watching 7-year-old Ricky Skaggs perform on the Flat and Scruggs television show in his parents’ living room near Bowling Green, Ken. “Ricky Skaggs was one of my inspirations,” Bush explained. “I thought it was the greatest thing seeing him play mandolin and it made me want to do it too.”
Fast forward to today and Bush, who has been honored by the Americana Music Association with a lifetime achievement award, is now proving to be an inspiration to new generations of mandolin players including Chris Thile of Nickel Creek and Mike Guggino of Steep Canyon Rangers, among many others.
“It’s overwhelming and humbling,” Bush says of his lifetime achievement award from the AMA on his website. “It goes along with the title cut of my new album, Circles Around Me, which basically says, how in the hell did we get this far? In my brain I’m still 17, but I look in the mirror and I’m 57.”
Members of “The Bush League” have only a few chances left this year to catch Bush performing live. One of them is this week, at The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount, Va. The show is a co-promotion between The Jefferson Center in Roanoke, a premier venue presenting live concerts in all genres, and the Harvester. “Both organizations are proud to host one of the best, when Sam Bush performs this fall,” the Harvester’s website states. “On behalf of both Jefferson Center and the Harvester, we thank you in advance for your loyal support of the arts and live music in general.”
If You Go