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Late As Usual

Sam Bush

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Album Review

Like many of the modern bluegrass masters who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, Sam Bush is a multi-instrumentalist who excels no matter which style he is playing. These 1984 sessions feature the leader in a variety of contexts. He plays fiddle in a traditional duet of Bill Monroe's "Big Mon" with banjo picker Courtney Johnson, then switches to mandolin and singing lead in "Last Letter Home," backed by guitarist Norman Blake and cellist Nancy Blake with bassist John Cowan's harmony vocal and Dobro player Curtis Burch. Perhaps the most fun track is his interpretation of the unjustly overlooked mandolinist Dave Apollon's "Russian Rag"; Bush overdubs himself on mandolins, mandolas, and bass, accompanied by Mike Marshall's multiple mandolins, mandocellos, and guitar. His mandolin duet of the standard "Broadway" with Jethro Burns (a brilliant instrumentalist best known for his work as a part of the country music comedy duo Homer & Jethro) is a meeting between two masters of the instrument. Bush also includes a few originals, with banjo star Béla Fleck added for his progressive "Crooked Smile."

Biography

Born: 15 April 1952 in Bowling Green, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

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, Bush...
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