Sam Bush’s new album Storyman is a freewheeling collection that gleefully picks and chooses from jazz, folk, blues, reggae, country swing, and bluegrass to create a jubilant noise only classifiable as the “Sam Bush sound.” Many of the songs are stories––several of them true––and the legendary mandolin player co-wrote every one of them with friends, including the late Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, Jon Randall Stewart, Jeff Black, bandmate Stephen Mougin, and others. Storyman continues Bush’s tradition of creating something completely new and fresh for each recording, this time focusing on stories from some of the most popular songsmiths of our time.
For Bush, a lifetime of channeling his energy into his art has led to stylistic innovations that have changed the course of bluegrass and roots music alike. Bush has taken home three GRAMMY awards, received a Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist Award from the Americana Music Association, hosted the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, and has been honored as Mandolin Player of the Year four times. In March 2010, Legislation passed in Kentucky, Bush’s home state, that officially named Bowling Green the “Birthplace of Newgrass,” and Sam Bush the “Father of Newgrass.”
Bush took about four years to record the latest installment in his legacy. “It’s still important to me that all of the songs fit together on an album,” he says. “I’m well aware that people buy individual tracks digitally, and that’s good. But I still think of it as an album––a body of work. And I’m really satisfied with these songs. It’s taken a while, but I sure am happy with them.”
Produced by Bush and recorded partially at Neptone Recording Studios in Destin, Florida, and Bush’s longtime go-to, Nashville’s Sound Emporium, Storyman is the best of friends swapping tales, and jamming for the sake of jamming.
“If there is a love in it, it’s the love of playing music together,” Bush reflects. “When we play live on stage, if people can feel the joy we’re feeling, then we have succeeded. That’s the goal to me of playing music: Did the audience feel something?”
Bush is currently on the road, and will continue touring throughout the summer in support of Storyman. Stops include Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, and Berkeley, CA. Bush will also appear at several festivals this summer including DelFest, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, ROMP, Rockygrass and Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, CO where Bush is known simply as “the King.” Additional dates will be announced soon