Happy Birthday Charles Samuel “Sam” Bush (born April 13, 1952) is an American bluegrass mandolin player considered an originator of the Newgrass style. Born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Bush was exposed to country and bluegrass music at an early age through his father Charlie’s record collection, and later by the Flatt & Scruggs television show. Buying his first mandolin at the age of 11, his musical interest was further piqued when he attended the inaugural Roanoke, VA Bluegrass Festival in 1965. As a teen Bush took first place three times in the junior division of the National Oldtime Fiddler’s Contest in Weiser, ID. He joined guitarist Wayne Stewart, his mentor and music teacher during Sam’s teen years, and banjoist Alan Munde (later of Country Gazette) and the three recorded an instrumental album, Poor Richard’s Almanac, in 1969. In the spring of 1970, Bush attended the Fiddlers Convention at Union Grove, NC, and was inspired by the rock-flavored progressive bluegrass of the New Deal String Band. Later that year, he moved to Louisville and joined the Bluegrass Alliance. In the fall of 1971, the band dissolved and reformed as the New Grass Revival. The New Grass Revival went through numerous personnel changes, with Bush remaining as the sole original member. In the winter of 1997, Bush and the New Grass Revival reunited for an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien as the backup band for Garth Brooks. On March 28, 1998, Bush’s hometown of Bowling Green, KY, honored him with a special “Sam Bush Day” celebration. Sam Bush Band tours extensively, appearing at many small venues and large festivals such as the Strawberry Music Festival (Memorial Day and Labor Day), Rockygrass (late July), and every spring at the Americana Festival, Merlefest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Sam Bush is known as one of the liveliest performers at these festivals, and makes many guest appearances with the other artists.
October 22, 2015, Sam and Lynn attended a special reception at the Kentucky State Capital in Frankfort, where Sam was honored by Governor Steve Beshear as one of nine Kentuckians whose contributions – as artists or advocates – have raised the level of quality and awareness of the arts in Kentucky and the nation. His lifelong commitment to and achievement in the arts was recognized with a 2015 Governor’s Award in the Arts in the National category.
I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie