Sam Bush (b. April 13, 1952 in Bowling Green, Kentucky) was a founding member of the New Grass Revival and has been called a modern day Bill Monroe. The State of Kentucky has designated him as "the father of newgrass music."
Attending the Fiddlers Convention at Union Grove, North Carolina in 1970, Bush overheard the pioneering progressive bluegrass band the New Deal String Band. Inspired by their rock-flavored approach to bluegrass, he formed the New Grass Revival in 1971.
The group was successful enough to have the group's name become a unique music genre: "newgrass music".
March 30. 2010, Governor Steve Beshear signed HJR 154 - Designating Sam Bush as "The Father of Newgrass Music"and Bowling Green, Kentucky as "The Birthplace of Newgrass Music."
Legislators name Bowling Green the birthplace of the genre, which officials hope will bring in tourists
Bowling Green and native son Sam Bush have long been considered by music fans as the progenitors of the newgrass genre.
Now it's official.
Legislation was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly unanimously naming Bowling Green as the birthplace of newgrass, a spinoff of bluegrass music. The legislation also recognizes Bush as the father of newgrass.
"Just a kid going to Warren Central High School, I didn't know this would ever happen,"Bush said.
Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, sponsored the legislation because "it's not every day that someone from your hometown creates a genre of music. It's no big secret that he is considered the father of newgrass and that Bowling Green is where it all started."
Bush was a member in the seminal newgrass band, New Grass Revival, which was founded in 1971. Bush was the only member of the band to be in all of its incarnations, until it disbanded in 1989.
More recently, Bush is playing his mandolin on a tour that kicked off in Frankfort to promote his latest album, "Circles Around Me."
"It's pretty amazing. As a kid who was raised on a farm out on Morgantown Road, it's humbling,"Bush said. "I take a lot of pride in being from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The fact is not lost on me that the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe ... is from Kentucky."
Local officials are also happy with the legislation, and are hoping Bowling Green's new title will help draw tourists to the area.
"Anything positive like that ... we can use as a tourism tool,"said Vicki Fitch, executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The official distinction could be helpful in promoting the International Newgrass Festival. Bowling Green will host the second annual festival Aug. 20-22. About 1,500 people attended the event last year, and Bush was one of the headliners.
"This event has a huge growth potential as word spreads that it is a quality festival,"Fitch said.
DeCesare, himself a musician in local band Skip Bond and the Fugitives, said there might even be the possibility of a signing ceremony with Gov. Steve Beshear and Bush at the Newgrass Festival.
"I love that time of the year when the festivals start rolling back around (and) I look forward to being there,"Bush said.
A JOINT RESOLUTION relating to Newgrass music.
WHEREAS, Newgrass music legend Sam Bush was born in 1952 in Bowling Green, Kentucky; and
WHEREAS, Sam Bush is an exceedingly talented musician who has mastered performance on the fiddle, mandolin, and guitar; and
WHEREAS, Sam Bush was a musical prodigy who began playing the fiddle in early childhood and was a three time national junior fiddle champion at the National Oldtime Fiddler's Contest in Idaho; and
WHEREAS, Sam Bush has received the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement for an Instrumentalist award in 2009 and has received several awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, including Instrumental Performer of the Year on the Mandolin in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 2007, and Instrumental Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year in 2000; and
WHEREAS, Sam Bush joined the band Bluegrass Alliance while still in his teens; and
WHEREAS, Sam Bush was the founder of New Grass Revival in 1971, a band that revolutionized Bluegrass music by incorporating aspects of other types of music and often performed and rehearsed in the Bowling Green, Kentucky, area; and
WHEREAS, after New Grass Revival disbanded in 1989, Sam Bush joined the all-star Bluegrass band Strength in Numbers at the Telluride Music Festival in Telluride, Colorado and later joined Emmylou Harris' Nash Ramblers, touring and recording with that group for the next five years; and
WHEREAS, Sam Bush founded the Sam Bush Band in 1996 and has firmly established his preeminent reputation in Newgrass music; and
WHEREAS, Sam Bush has long been much in demand as a musician and has performed with a number of top musical acts, including Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond, Bela Fleck, Wynonna Judd, Allison Kraus, Lyle Lovett, Dolly Parton, Ricky Skaggs, Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood, and many, many more; and
WHEREAS, Sam Bush is internationally renowned as "The King of Newgrass" and "The King of Telluride," and is a native son of the Commonwealth of whom all Kentuckians can be proud; and
WHEREAS, Newgrass music, also known as Progressive Bluegrass music, is one of two major subgenres of Bluegrass music, and may be distinguished from traditional Bluegrass music by four key elements: (1) instrumentation that frequently includes electric instruments, drums, piano, and other instruments; (2) imported songs or imitated styles from other music genres, such as jazz, the blues, and rock and roll; (3) nontraditional chord progressions; and (4) lengthy "jam band" style improvisation; and
WHEREAS, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Sam Bush's birthplace, is also the home of the world's first International Newgrass Festival, which took place August 21-23, 2009 at historic Ballance Farms just north of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and featured among its headlining performers Bowling Green, Kentucky's beloved native son, Sam Bush; and
WHEREAS, the International Newgrass Festival will return to historic Ballance Farms for the second time August 20-22, 2010, and performers will include three members of the band that launched Newgrass music, New Grass Revival, including Curtis Burch, John Cowan, and Bowling Green, Kentucky's own Sam Bush;
Be it resolved by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
Section 1. The Kentucky General Assembly hereby designates and declares Bowling Green, Kentucky, native Sam Bush as "The Father of Newgrass Music."
Section 2. The Kentucky General Assembly hereby designates and declares Bowling Green, Kentucky as "The Birthplace of Newgrass Music."
Section 3. The Clerk of the House of Representatives is directed to transmit a copy of this Joint Resolution to the Representative from Warren 21, for presentation to Mr. Sam Bush, International Bluegrass Music Association, 2 Music Circle South, Suite 100, Nashville, Tennessee 37203; the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 222 Fifth Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee 37203; Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker and the City Commission of Bowling Green, Kentucky, 1001 College Street, P.O. Box 430, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42102-0430; and Warren County Judge/Executive Mike Buchanon and the Fiscal Court of Warren County, Kentucky, 429 East 10th Street, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101.