I am very excited to be seeing a living legend tonight at the Variety Playhouse here in Atlanta. Sam Bush has been the single largest influence on my playing. The day my parents purchased me my first mandolin in 2000 he also bought me “Bluegrass Mandolin Taught by Sam Bush,” made in 1984, ironically the year I was born. It is actually in my VCR today. That’s right I still watch VHS’s, mostly old Homespun videos that provide a lifetime worth of practice material. Sam Bush’s versatility and musicianship is what keeps me going back to his playing for inspiration.
I am part of a new generation of pickers who look to Sam and Dawg first then later come to study the father, Bill Monroe, Jesse McReynolds, Doyle Laswson, John Duffy, and all the pioneers who made mandolin playing what it is today. I had the opportunity to play with Matthew Mundy at a jam at Sawnee Mountain Music. Matt is an incredible mandolin player! Matt spoke very highly of Sam and helped me see that Sam’s playing is unique in that he can play anything, traditional bluegrass, jazz, or reggae paying homage to the masters that came before him while still putting his own stamp on the song.
I have included a video here where I do my best Sam Bush impression. My father and I came up with this arrangement of Red-Haired Boy, it starts out with a slow intro, but then gets goin!