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.
Performance CreditsSam Bush Primary Artist,Banjo,Fiddle,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Slide Mandolin
Larry Atamanuik Drums
Brad Davis Guitar,Vocals
Byron House Electric Bass,Fretless Bass Guitar,Acoustic Bass
Reese Wynans Organ,Piano
Andrea Zonn Fiddle,Vocals
Jon Randall Stewart Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar
Chris Brown Drums
Technical CreditsSam Bush Composer,Producer
Grandpa Jones Composer
Johnny Clegg Composer
Brad Davis Contributor
Byron House Composer
Dave Sinko Engineer
Eddie Lynn Snodderly Composer
Anders Osborne Composer
Jeff Black Composer
Jon Randall Stewart Composer
Lynn Bush Executive Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
King of My World based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Known as the founder and a pioneer in the Bluegrass revival this album does nothing but reinforce that title. With this album Sam continues to create music that exceeds all expectations. Sam has always been known for his diversity, and the seamless way he blends a variety of musical styles. Although each song is of a different musical styling the album is so well constructed that it smoothly takes you from one track to the next and makes the whole album flow. Some of my favorite songs include classic rockin Bluegrass tracks like “They’re Going to Miss me when I’m Gone” which includes Sam Bush trademark ripping mandolin solo. Some of my other favorites are the reggae infused “Spirit is the Journey” and the fun loving big bang/swing influenced “The Wizard of Oz”. I highly recommend this album!!!!!
Sam Bush has always been somewhat of a maverick, an independently minded musician who isn’t necessarily constrained by the traditional sideboards of bluegrass. While many appreciate his innovation and creativity, some will always struggle with and question his use of drums, piano, organ and electric instruments on this project. My advice to them is to take their blinders off. Bush associates himself with some excellent musicians, and the songs aren’t so far out there that this is rock music after all. He follows his own muse and explores a jamgrass territory into Americana that melds new sounds with old, spicing them with electric flavors that invigorate his acoustic spirit. His primary picking pals include Jon Randall Stewart (guitar), Byron House (bass), Chris Brown (drums), Brad Davis (vocals, guitar, BradBender). Others that appear include Reese Wynans (piano or organ, two cuts), Andrea Zonn (fiddle, one cut) and Larry Atamanuik (drums, one cut). Bush collaborated last year with David Grisman on the project, “Hold on, We’re Strummin’,” but it’s been about four years since Sam put out his last solo album called “Ice Caps: Peaks of Telluride” in 2000. “King of My World” pulls from many genres from bluegrass to jazz, reggae to country. The mountain consciousness is most apparent on a couple tracks (Puppie ‘N Knapsacks, Eight More Miles to Louisville) that Sam even picks banjo on. I never knew he could do that. “Bananas” is an instrumental with a distinctly Latin jazz feeling. The band really rocks on “Spirit is the Journey” written by Johnny Clegg, while the bluesy downstrokes on his mandolin drive Ed Snodderly’s composition, “Magestic.” The album even closes with a swingy self-penned “The Wizard of Oz,” presumably a tribute to the great St. Louis Cardinals shortstop, Ozzie Smith. An avid Cardinals fan, Sam collects baseball memorabilia, has a dog named “Ozzie,” and even performed the national anthem in 2002 at a Cardinals home game. Besides mandolin and banjo, Bush also offers some hot licks on slide mandolin, slide guitar, guitar, and fiddle to various tracks. Six of the eleven songs each span five minutes or longer, and this gives the arrangements plenty of room to breathe with dynamics and instrumental improvisations. Speaking of eleven, that’s the age that Bush started playing mandolin. By age 19, he was involved with the New Grass Revival which turned a lot of heads until their breakup in 1990. Bush, of course, went on to be a member of Emmylou Harris’ “Nash Ramblers” from 1990-94, then toured for a year with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Bush’s first solo album hit the streets in 1996, and “King of My World” is now his fourth solo release. He also maintains a very hectic schedule of touring, as well as recording with others. “King of My World” continues his high-energy unfettered approach to music that refuses to be restricted by certain boundaries. While a staunchly traditional bluegrass fan will find little to please them here, others with more open musical minds will realize that Sam Bush’s eclectic music is impeccably performed with passion, energy, spirit and even with a little humor thrown in. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)