Sam Bush, whose style of music is often called bluegrass/newgrass, returns to the Grand Theatre stage for a 7:30 p.m. performance Friday.
A Bowling Green native, Bush, 61, has deep roots in country and bluegrass, buying his first mandolin at age 11. He is a three-time national junior fiddle champion who grew up listening to Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe.
In the early 1970s, Bush was exposed to progressive bluegrass. Out of this exposure he co-founded The New Grass Revival, a fusion of bluegrass with jazz, rock, blues and funk. Bassist and vocalist John Cowan, banjo ace Bela Fleck and guitarist Pat Flynn cycled through the group before it was dissolved in 1989. Along the way, Bush recorded his first solo album, “Late as Usual” in 1984.
In the years that followed, Bush spent five years touring and recording with Emmylou Harris’ Nash Ramblers followed by his work as a sideman with Lyle Lovett and Bela Fleck’s Flectones. In 1996 he released his second solo album, “Glamour and Grits,” after forming his own band with John Cowan and former Nash Ramblers Jon Randall and Larry Atamanuick. “Howling at the Moon” was released in 1998. To date, his solo albums total eight.
Along with being called King of Newgrass, Bush is also known as the King of Telluride, the world famous bluegrass festival in Colorado where he has played 39 of 40 years. He has been honored by the Americana Music Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentation, named Mandolin Player of the Year four times by the International Bluegrass Music Association and is a three-time Grammy Award winner.
His band consists of Scott Vestal on banjo, Todd Parks, bass and vocals, Stephen Mougin, guitar and vocals and Chris Brown on drums.