Sam Bush to create mandolin magic at Belly Up Aspen
IF YOU GO...
Who: Sam Bush
When: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m.
How much: $40/general admission; $60/reserved
Tickets: Belly Up box office; bellyupaspen.com
Sam Bush’s name is so familiar in these parts many people mistake him for a Coloradan.
“We’ve just been coming to Colorado so long it feels like a home to us,” said the renowned multi-instrumentalist, who headlines Belly Up Aspen today. “It’s funny, many people think we’re either from North Carolina or Colorado since we tend to play there so much.”
Bush, sometimes called the father of new grass, is a Kentucky native who now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s on a swing through Colorado that also included a set at the Ute Theater in Rifle.
Maybe it’s the mountain spirit that repeatedly draws him to the two states, Bush said. Bush has been a regular at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, whether solo or as part of New Grass Revival, and credits that event for his success in Colorado. He’ll be back in Telluride in June.
“Both of those states give you a sense of community,” he said. “Learning to play music is just part of the community of the area.”
Community is something Bush knows well, and it’s evident even in his solo shows. He collaborates with friends including bluegrass greats Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer, and Bush’s latest album is full of songs co-written with other pals.
Songs from that album, 2016’s “Storyman,” are sure to show up on the setlist in Aspen. They’re filled with stories, such as “Transcendental Meditation Blues,” a song co-written with Jeff Black that details a Greyhound bus breaking down when Bush was on the way to visit his then-girlfriend and now-wife of 32 years, Lynn. “Carcinoma Blues,” a Guy Clark collaboration, delves into the cancer experience both of a patient and his loved one.
“I’m a fan of other people’s music, too, and a cheerleader for my friends,” he said. “It certainly brightens my day to hear certain songs.”
Those friendships extend beyond the people he plays and writes with, Bush is quick to note, although music is often the glue that unites them. He’s met people throughout the country while on tour and points to Aspen’s Dan Sadowsky, or “Pastor Mustard,” as a perfect example.
“Part of that relationship is music, and part of it is we found we had many things in common,” Bush said. “The music gives us a sense of community together.”
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