If you see Sam Bush perform live, the first thing you’ll notice is what a wonderful time he has on stage. Few performers enjoy playing music as much as Sam, and it shows. On his latest CD, King of My World, Sam brings his particular joie de vivre to the studio.
Joined by Jon Randall Stewart and Brad Davis on guitar, Chris Brown and Larry Atamanuik on drums, Byron House on bass, Reese Wynans on piano, and Andrea Zonn on fiddle, Sam handles all mandolin parts in addition to the occasional fiddle, slide guitar, guitar, and vocals. The material displays Bush’s usual eclectic bent, including songs by Keb Mo, Grandpa Jones, a pair by Jeff Black, Johnny Clegg, and Ed Snodderly, as well as five written or co-written by Sam himself. His rousing rendition of the Grandpa Jones standard “Eight More Miles to Louisville” contrast nicely with Jeff Black’s pensive “King of the World.” Both display Bush’s trademark instrumental virtuosity coupled with heartfelt vocals and articulate arrangements. Jam bands take note; a song doesn’t have to be long to be musically powerful and effective.
Sonic virtuosity on King of the World equals the musicianship. Dave Sinko recording and mixing captures every nuance of Sam’s performances. I admire Sinko’s ability to mix purely acoustic instruments with drums and amplified instruments in a way that keeps the acoustic feel while allowing the louder instruments to maintain their dynamic power.
King of the World proves that Sam Bush has every right to the title of “Mandolin Prince” whether he wears a bowling shirt or an ermine robe.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.