Sam Bush Band Pushes out the Edges of Bluegrass March 28

March 20th, 2009 by Adam

David McClister photo


Plymouth, N.H.—Sam Bush may be a mandolin guru and founder of the genre known as “Newgrass,” but mostly he just wants “to take people away from the daily grind” and be entertaining.

The Sam Bush Band will entertain an audience for one show at Plymouth State University at 8 p.m. March 28, in Hanaway Theatre.

Joining Bush, who will play fiddle as well as mandolin, will be longtime band mates Byron House and Chris Brown on drums; Scott Vestal on banjo, banjo synthesizer and vocals and Stephen Mougin on guitars and vocals.

Bush is an accomplished composer, singer, standout performer and multiple Grammy Award winner and is considered to be an American bluegrass virtuoso. But his songs show a heavy rock and roll influence. “I started my first bluegrass band in my mid-teens and developed a love for rock ’n’ roll as well. …I was the youngest guy in the bluegrass bands, and the oldest guy in a couple of rock bands I played electric guitar in,” he quipped in one interview.

Bush is also credited with developing a new kind of bluegrass, dubbed “newgrass,” a jam-band concept with instruments going off on extended improvisations, but claims that wasn’t his intent. “We were just trying new things to see what happened,” Bush said.

Growing up in a Kentucky family where music was like another sibling, Bush carries that influence along in the case of his 1937 Gibson F-5 mandolin. He won a national fiddle title at the age of 15: then he saw Bill Monroe play mandolin. Bush counts playing a duet with Monroe on stage at the home of Grand Old Opry in Nashville in the late ’80s as a touchstone moment.

He also treasures his first time on stage with Doc Watson, and the time the band opened for the Grateful Dead in Oakland. Bush has also led the Nash Ramblers with Emmylou Harris and frequently toured with Lyle Lovett, Bela Fleck and David Grisman.

Tickets for the Sam Bush Band concert at Plymouth State University are $35-25 for adults, $33-23 for seniors, $30-20 for youth and $15-5 for PSU students with I.D., at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535- ARTS or (800) 770-3869.

The Sam Bush Band at PSU is presented by the Silver Center and funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts regional touring program and the American Masterpieces initiative, with additional support from the six New England State arts agencies.

For general information about events at PSU, log on to ThisWeek@PSU, http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.