Sam Bush is one more rocking right hand mando man. In fact, if you know anyone in the world who lays it down better than Sam please let me know so I can buy all their CDs and study them too. If Doc Watson calls you to cut the mando tracks for your project that shows it all.
Sam’s new CD, ‘Circles Around Me’ speaks to coming full circle. It is Bill Monroe, New Grass, side-man and front-man all wrapped into one disc; a must record for anyone with even the slightest interest in what traditional music is all about. I know it isn’t what Sam meant by the title, ’cause he is not a bragging sort of fellow, but it also hit me that Sam can pick circles around all of us.
When Sam hits the stage he gives it his all. Pretty soon he is drenched in sweat and red-faced. He just ain’t gonna let you show up at his gig and have a bad time. His band is the same way. Sometimes I wonder what drives a man like that, but then I don’t have to look too far. I could never be the kind of mandolin player Sam is (few on the planet are) but as a doc and even in my humble efforts as an artist I always want to give my best. Sam seems to be motivated to do the same.
Writer Larry Nager wrote up an article on Sam in the latest issue of ‘Bluegrass Unlimited.’ If you don’t get BU at least go buy a copy of this one and read this article. I love Sam’s quote at the end.
“It’s interesting, ’cause at age 57, I’m just trying to improve as a player and a singer. And I hope on this new record, it sounds that way to the listener. I’m not satisfied. You hear so many people, especially in this town of Nashville- they just want to be famous; that don’t mean it’s a good thing. I just want to play and sing better, and I don’t think I’m there yet. I’m still searching.” -Sam Bush BU Dec 2009
As good as the cat is, and he is the best, he’s still digging to try and be better. Isn’t that what should drive us all? I think as a doc what I did yesterday doesn’t make a bit of difference if I don’t give my all for my people today. To me that is why the work of an artist like Sam inspires me. It’s also why I worked so hard on my book. I wanted to give it my best effort to show what I believed to be true. Sam does that with his mandolin. I don’t think fame has got a d@^^ thing to do with any of it and I admire him for it.
There’s more I want to tell you, but I gotta go to the doc gig. I’ll edit and publish this in the morning, and I plan one more post on Sam this week. Y’all go take in a Sam Bush show. Take it from this doc; he’s good medicine.