A taste of Tennessee music comes to Kent

Erika Kreider

Former national junior fiddle champion, Sam Bush, will perform at The Kent Stage on Friday.

Credit: Ben Breier


Sam Bush

Where? The Kent Stage

When? Friday, 8 p.m.

How much? $25


Sam Bush is lucky enough to influence his favorite music artist, Trey Anastasio from Phish. Not many people can say they’ve influenced their own musical inspiration.

Bush, a bluegrass mandolin player, has influenced jam bands such as Phish and The String Cheese Incident for years.

He’s old enough to have influenced these bands but is still young at heart and can relate to younger people.

“There is no one age group that (I) appeal to,” Bush said. “(I) appeal to teenagers to people that are retired.”

Bush explained that he is somewhat of a child prodigy. In his down-home southern accent, he said he grew up in a musical family.

“We were on a farm and my parents wanted me to have an easier life than them. Playing music is much easier than working on a farm. I started playing mandolin at 11, and the fiddle at 13,” Bush said.

He also won the national junior fiddle championship when he was 15, 16 and 17 years old.

Although the music he plays now could be called many different things, Bush thinks he is Americana.

“Well, I think it’s contemporary music based around contemporary bluegrass music,” Bush said. “It’s a combination of all kinds of influences: bluegrass, rock, reggae and country – basically what you call Americana music.”

Over the years, Bush has learned to fall into the role of a singer as well. Since he started out as a mandolin player, he only learned to sing back-up.

This has changed these days.

“I became a lead singer when no one was better than me,” he said. “I’ve grown as a singer. I’ve learned to have more fun singing and improvising.”

Improvising is an aspect that shines when Bush plays live.

While recording an album, one can’t improvise a lot, so when Bush plays live, he uses that time to be creative.

“When we do the live shows, that in itself opens up the door for more jamming or experimenting,” Bush said.

Also at live shows, Bush said his favorite thing is the crowd and the positive energy vibe.

Another positive aspect of his live shows are his lyrics, which add to his shows’ happy moods.

“Its our job to create the positive energy,” Bush said.

Bush rarely plays cover songs at his live shows, but when he does, he plays Bob Marley.

“I love Bob Marley – can’t have enough Bob songs for me,” Bush said.

To hear Bush play, check him out at The Kent Stage on Friday.

Contact ALL correspondent Erika Kreider at [email protected].