Sam Bush returns to the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC) for an evening celebrating Bowling Green, KY as the Birthplace of Newgrass music on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Appearing with Sam will be the IBMA award nominated Sam Bush Band: Chris Brown, Stephen Mougin, Todd Parks, and Scott Vestal.
Raised on a farm just outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Bush grew up plowing tobacco fields in the Southern summer heat alongside his family. He started playing mandolin when he was 11 years old. “I believe growing up on a farm probably helped me channel my energy into learning music and being so interested in it,” Bush says. “Me and my sisters, we all loved it. I’ve often wondered if that’s because growing up on a farm, you couldn’t go ride your bike all over town and horse around like the other kids.”
For Bush, a lifetime of channeling his energy has led to stylistic innovations that led him to being recognized as the “Father of Newgrass Music” and his hometown of Bowling Green, KY being recognized as the “Birthplace of Newgrass Music” by the Governor and Legislature of Kentucky.
“I feel fortunate that when it’s time to play, no matter how I feel physically or mentally, once the downbeat starts, my mind goes to a place that’s all music,” says Bush. “The joy of the music comes to me and overtakes me sometimes––I just become part of the music.” That rapt merging of life and art fills Bush’s new album Storyman, 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 Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, Jon Randall Stewart, Jeff Black, and others. The Father of Newgrass and King of Telluride has long since established himself as roots royalty, revered for both his solo and sideman work, which includes time with Harris, Lyle Lovett, Garth Brooks, Little Feat, John Prine, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Vince Gill, Allison Kraus, Béla Fleck and many more. But instead of kicking back and soaking up honors such as an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award and 3 Grammy Awards and his International Bluegrass Music Association trophies, Bush still strives relentlessly to create something new.
The concert will open with a special Tribute to Ernest Hogan, a Bowling Green, KY native, who published the first Ragtime song and is recognized as the “Father of Ragtime Music.” This concert will also be a celebration of the unique distinction that Bowling Green, KY is the birthplace of two fathers of a music genre.