Sam Bush Band & Big Richard — Washington’s, Fort Collins — 2/22/22
Multi-instrumentalist Sam Bush is truly a pioneer of modern-day musical culture. Ground-breaking New grass is an understatement when it comes to the creativity this man has expressed over the years. New Grass Revival was an American progressive bluegrass band formed in the early ’70s, releasing over twenty albums by 1989. Sam Bush was integral in this band as were Bela Fleck and several others over the years. Sam caught the eye of Leon Russell and went on the road with him in 1979. He has also performed with Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, and countless others over his long career. I would have to write a book to express the amount of accolades, tours, recordings, and downright goodness that has oozed from the mind and fingers of Sam Bush.
Bush and his band touched down at Washington’s Tuesday, February 22, in Fort Collins, Colorado. Christopher Fernald was the lighting director. Bush always has great energy, lots of smiles, and a real welcoming quality to his audience. The five-piece band consisting of all things strings opened the set with “Play By Your Own Rules.” Bush, a master of the mandolin, wasted no time showing remarkable skills and precision with his relationship with the instrument. Combined with his vocal prowess and stage presence, he brings excitement and energy effortlessly to the guests.
The notable setlist contained “TM Blues,” “ Boss Fight,” “Whipping Post,” “Railroad Man,” and many others. Bush and his band flow in and out of complex arrangements, truth in words and conviction to the jam. You can feel the traditions in his songs as the foundation is deeply rooted in American blues, bluegrass, and reggae with contemporary ideas and styling. Sam and his incredibly talented band are as one, as they are individuals on stage, each capable of taking the lead and adding their styles of playing to the music. Bush looked fit and happy; his voice was clear and crisp as it has been for many years. Sam and his band were warmly welcomed by the Fort Collins crowd, and we are glad they came on through!
Big Richard, the all-female bluegrass folk rock contemporary super group, are refreshing, fun, and an uber talented addition to the Colorado music scene. Comprised of Bonnie Sims on mandolin, Emma Rose on bass and guitar, Eve Panning on fiddle, and Joy Adams on cello, these ladies are a raging good time. Each one of these talented musicians has a long history in the art of creating music. With diverse backgrounds, angelic voices, and surgical skills on their instruments, they are a force to be reckoned with. Their friendship on stage is endearing, and the music they are creating is a shared passion among them.
Each player in Big Richard has a unique blend of influences that covers most genres, including contemporary pop, traditional bluegrass, blues, and country. Combining all of these styles gives this band an open canvas to create and explore their capabilities. This band plays hard and fast with searing, mind-bending precision. They played a diverse set including original music and a couple of select covers including a haunting version of Radiohead’s “Creep” as well as the alternative pop hit “Royals” by Lorde. The crowd loved the band; they are infectious fun, loaded with talent and heart!