The Newgrass Revival burst on the scene in the 1970s, playing with energy, enthusiasm and attitude. Many fans remember the first time they heard “Great Balls of Fire” played bluegrass style. Some may have thought it was heresy, but no one could deny the skill and power behind the flowing, rhythmic mandolin of a skinny, shaggy-haired, head-bobbing guy named Sam Bush.
Today Sam’s known as the “father of newgrass,” respected and loved by generations of music fans. He’s played with, and inspired, some of the biggest names in bluegrass, country and roots music. His recordings show off his range, from hard-driving straight bluegrass (including a instructional video on Bill Monroe’s mandolin techniques) to avant garde acoustic string compositions. His stage shows are legendary, and the Sam Bush Band continues to tour the world.
Revival: The Sam Bush Story captures the Sam Bush experience on screen, with concert footage and interviews with Sam and many of the music stars he’s influenced over the years, including his bandmates Bela Fleck, John Cowan and Pat Flynn; plus Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, John Oates, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Thile, Del McCoury, David Grisman, Jerry Douglas, Jeff Hanna, Sierra Hull, Jeff Austin, Guy Clark, Pete Wernick, Scott Avett and more.
The film premiered at festivals in 2015, but hasn’t been generally available until now. On November 1, fans can rent or purchase the film on amazon.com, and it’s expected that the DVD will be available soon.
As Chris Thile says in the trailer to the film, “I know that there was a lot of pressure on Sam: ‘Are you the next Bill Monroe?’ Sam had the guts and the vision to say ‘No. I’m going to be the first Sam Bush, though.’ ”