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Glamour and Grits

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Album Review

Sam Bush's newgrass mandolin playing is at its peak on the appropriately titled Glamour & Grits — solidly rooted with the traditional feel of the best contemporary bluegrass, but constantly pushing at the edges of composition and performance, giving each song a decidedly progressive feel. Surrounding himself with a blindingly talented list of supporting musicians (Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Al Kooper, among others), Bush still manages to maintain his own presence on the mandolin and even with his own pleasantly everyman vocals. The instrumentals nudge themselves slightly ahead of the vocal tracks, not because Bush is an unpleasant singer, but because the instrumental passages allow the players to focus on the inventive changes and nuanced picking that the players in this group do so well. Fans of his work with New Grass Revival and Strength in Numbers would be remiss in not picking this one up.


Born: April 15, 1952 in Bowling Green, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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, he...
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