Laps In Seven

Sam Bush

Sugar Hill Records, 2006

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


If I have to make a list of under-appreciated genuine American originals, Sam Bush is right up there. I have no idea why more people haven’t realized he’s a genius; I live in a town that embraces roots music like a drunken uncle embracing a bridesmaid at a wet wedding reception, and I still don’t hear him on the radio.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Oh well, I guess that it means I feel that much smarter for knowing the truth.

The founder of the New Grass Revival is back again with another album of hand-mined bluegrass and newgrass gems, and this time he brought friends. Laps In Seven is a truly great CD. Bush is one of the greatest mandolin players alive – maybe ever – and his delicate yet earthy touch is all over this CD. When you add in special guests like Emmylou Harris (whose vocals on “The River’s Gonna Run” are pure gold), virtuoso fiddler Tim O’Brien, vocalist Shaun Murphy, and violin legend Jean-Luc Ponty, you have a modern classic.

As with almost all recordings on Sugar Hill, the production and engineering is clean and uncluttered, crisp and clear with the string sound really snapping off the speakers. About half the compositions are Bush’s, with the rest coming from such diverse sources as Leon Russell, Robbie Fulks, and Dave and Andrea LaFlamme. The song choice is elegant and appropriate.

Tracks worth mentioning include the aforementioned “The River’s Gonna Run,” with a truly haunting melody and arrangement; Bush’s throwdown duet with Ponty on Ponty’s own composition “New Country,” the infectiously cheery “Ridin’ That Bluegrass Train,” and the mind-blowing (everyone writes in 7/4 time signature, right?) “Laps In Seven.”

If your musical tastes run anywhere between John Prine and Mark O’Connor, Nickel Creek and Keith Urban, you owe it to yourself to check out Sam Bush’s Laps In Seven. You, too, can be as smart as I am. No, really.

Rating: A

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© 2006 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sugar Hill Records, and is used for informational purposes only.