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Sam Bush

Glamour & Grits – 1996 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Mark "Brink" Brinkman

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CDs by Sam Bush

If you think that the mandolin is a one dimensional instrument, Sam Bush is out to prove you wrong. This latest release features Bush's phenomenal mandolin work on songs ranging from grassroots folk to what he calls "electri-Celtic fusion" and everything in between. Therein lies both the strength and the weakness of this album. If your interests lie in one or two styles of music, you may not enjoy the diversity of this project. However, if your interests are varied you will find a smorgasbord of musical treats. Bush is assisted by his old New Grass Revival buddies John Cowan and Bela Fleck among others. Highlights include the hook-laden "Same Ol' River," great slide mandolin on "Watson Allman," and a wonderfully unique version of the old standard "Ol' Joe Clark." Bush's vocals are soulful and solid, but not outstanding. What he does bring to the album is a tremendous energy and drive. It features a versatile mandolin player doing his best to "push the envelope" of his instrument.