Sam Bush – King Of My World
A pioneering mandolin player, Sam Bush modernized bluegrass in the 1970s to the point of having his style coined "newgrass." True to form, Bush adds numerous stylistic nuances into the bluegrass template on 2004's KING OF MY WORLD. Here he moves from a traditional reading of Grandpa Jones's "Eight More Miles to Louisville" and the instrumental stomper "Puppie 'N Knapsacks" (featuring Bush on fiddle, mandolin, and banjo) to more unorthodox fare, including the self-penned, Latin-jazz-flavored "Bananas."
Not surprisingly, the Kentucky native isn't shy about borrowing from unlikely sources for material. This time around, he dips into the canons of contemporary bluesman Keb' Mo' (the sublime "A Better Man") and South African world music star Johnny Clegg (a reggae-flavored "Spirit Is the Journey"). Most impressive is a reading of Jeff Black's "They're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone," which boasts a locomotive cadence and lightning-fast picking on Bush's mandolin.
1. Puppies 'n Knapsacks - 3:05 2. A Better Man - 5:16 3. Eight More Miles to Louisville - 3:31 4. They're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone - 4:58 5. Bananas - 5:22 6. King of the World - 5:11 7. Spirit Is the Journey - 5:02 8. Majestic - 4:30 9. Bless His Heart - 4:11 10. The Mahavishnu Mountain Boys - 5:54 11. The Wizard of Oz - 2:37
Sam Bush (banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, slide guitar, slide mandolin, vocals) , Brad Davis / Jon Randall Stewart (guitar, vocals) , Andrea Zonn (vocals, fiddle) , Byron House (bass) , Reese Wynans organ, piano) , Larry Atamanuik / Chris Brown (drums)
1. AllMusic - William Ruhlmann
King of My World is only Sam Bush's fifth solo album in the last 19 years, but it's also his fourth in the last eight years, reflecting his movement from leadership of New Grass Revival, which packed it in 1989, to a solo career. Still, making solo albums is not a primary activity for this in-demand session musician, so it's always nice when he takes the time out to make a record as a leader. King of My World, featuring a backup band including Jon Randall Stewart (guitar), Byron House (bass), and Chris Brown (drums), with additional contributions from Brad Davis (guitar), Reese Wynans(keyboards), Andrea Zonn (fiddle), and Larry Atamanuik (drums), is a typical showcase for Bush, a renowned fiddle and mandolin player who demonstrates a perfectly adequate singing voice on several tracks here. One of the typical -- but still impressive -- aspects of the recording is Bush's eclecticism, which draws elements of jazz and even South African music (on Johnny Clegg's "Spirit Is the Journey") into the bluegrass orbit. Bush and his comrades are fleet pickers, but they are much more than that, combining bluegrass with other styles into a fusion that earns them the name (once derisively bestowed by a bemused listener to New Grass Revival) of "The Mahavishnu Mountain Boys," i.e., a country-styled version of the '70s jazz-rock fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
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