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World Music CD Reviews North American

Sam Bush

By Michael Stone
Published March 20, 2007

Laps in Seven
Sugar Hill

Laps in Seven proceeds from Bush’s realization that his dog Ozzie drinks water in syncopated 7/4 time, a quirky insight indicating that this is no run-of-the-mill bluegrass traditionalist at work. As a singer, fiddler, mandolinist and guitarist, Sam Bush carves out his own universe, able to leap tall genre divides with a single bound, contrasting the menacing electrified drone of “The River’s Gonna Run” (with guest Emmylou Harris on duet vocal) with breakneck mandolin on the more traditionally oriented “Bringing in the Georgia Mail,” the slicing amplified violin apparition of guest Jean-Luc Ponty on his “New Country,” John Hartford’s angular 5/4 composition “On the Road,” the funky gospel tinge of Bush’s own “I Wanna Do Right” (with Little Feat’s Shaun Murphy on duet vocal, and Bush’s slide violin implying a shout out to The Band), and inspired takes on Leon Russell and It’s a Beautiful Day’s psychedelic classic “White Bird.”