Bush and The Bluegrass Hotel redux

Multiple updates after the jump

The Bluegrass HotelIt seems that the very promising series of projects announced last fall to commemorate The Bluegrass Hotel in Louisville, KY is falling victim to poor communication and inattention to detail.

After discussions with Bill Millet, one of the chief coordinators of the concert and other related projects, we posted at length about them on Bluegrass Today. There is to be a benefit concert in Louisville, with proceeds going to support the American Cancer Society, plus an audio CD, a coffee table book and a concert DVD.

In that report, we indicated (per Bill Millet) that Sam Bush was to be a co-producer of the audio CD, which would include new music recorded by him, Tony Rice, Dan Crary, JD Crowe, Curtis Burch and John Cowan, all scheduled to perform on the 3/20 concert.

We posted yesterday that Sam Bush would not, in fact, be involved, and that a statement from his attorney would be forthcoming. It is reproduced below.

Sam Bush announced last week that he will not be participating in the Bluegrass Hotel Project and will not be performing at the festival in Louisville, KY on March 20, 2009.  There has been considerable misinformation and falsehoods disseminated regarding Sam’s decision, and it is time to set the record straight.

First, Sam will not be performing at the festival.  For many weeks, the Producer of the Project has used Sam’s name and likeness without his permission.  Despite being advised of Sam’s decision on March  5th, the Bluegrass Hotel website continues to list Sam as one of the featured performers.  The website’s information is not correct.

Further, Sam’s decision not to perform had absolutely nothing to do with money.  Contrary to statements posted on the internet by the Project’s Producer, Sam has never requested to be paid anything, including what is being fraudulently reported as requiring a $10,000.00 fee as an executive producer.  Any statements to the contrary are false.

For several weeks, now months, Sam had been unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain information relating to the Project’s financial and legal structure and unable to substantiate that all necessary agreements, clearances, and approvals had been obtained for completion of the Project.  Accordingly, after extensive consultation with legal council, Sam reluctantly decided he could not go forth in such a manner of chaos and liability.

The statement from the Bluegrass Hotel referenced above begins with a ominous lead, and proceeds to the charge denied above.

Sam Bush is a cancer survivor and his father recently passed away from the diseases. New Grass Revival founder Courtney Johnson also died from cancer.

The Bluegrass Hotel has been attempting to negotiate an agreement with Sam Bush since Jan. 2008, but paying him a fee to perform at a benefit concert for the American Cancer Society was not included in the terms. Therefore it came as a surprise to receive notification from Sam Bush’s manager at the 11th hour informing The Bluegrass Hotel Project that unless Sam was paid a $10,000 fee to perform at the benefit concert for the American Cancer Society on March 20 at the Galt House, Sam would be pulled from the concert.

After having discussed this situation with a number of the principals involved, it seems clear that the dispute between Bush and the Bluegrass Hotel Project could have been avoided. Sam Bush has existing contractual obligations which he is legally bound to uphold, and his management’s contention that requisite assurances were not provided – and that they have been requesting them for months – strikes me as dispositive.

As to the conflicting claims about the demand of a hefty fee, I suppose we will each have to choose who to believe.

The Bluegrass Hotel’s online postings indicate that the show will go as scheduled in Bush’s absence, and that all additional projects are still a go – including filming of the show for the DVD and an airing on PBS this fall.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that other performers have pulled out as well, but that is not reflected in any official statements. John Cowan’s web site shows this March 20 concert on his tour schedule, but it is not listed on the Tony Rice or JD Crowe sites. We had not checked prior to this morning, so it is possible that they had never been listed in the first place.

We will update with any other information we can obtain.

UPDATE 12:17 p.m. John Cowan’s MySpace page carries this announcement:

It is with regret we announce that John will NOT be participating in the Bluegrass Hotel concert at the Galt House in Louisville, KY on 3/20/09.  We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to seeing all of you at one of the many shows he has scheduled this year.

UPDATE 1:05 p.m.  We have just received notice from Keith Case and Associates that Tony Rice will not be appearing at the Bluegrass Hotel concert either.

This is an official notification that Tony Rice will not be part of the “Bluegrass Hotel” presentation in Louisville next week end March 20, 2009.

Neither Tony nor I, on his behalf, have ever committed to his being part of this presentation.

UPDATE 9:15 p.m.  Class Act Entertainment has confirmed that J.D. Crowe will be parrticipating in the March 20 event.

UPDATE 3/14  Cellist Ben Sollee has also issued a staement regarding the Bluegrass Hotel project.

In January of this year musician and producer Bill Millet invited me to be a part of the The Bluegrass Hotel festival and concert. Even though I was an unusual choice it was an honor to be included in an event that was to feature some of my musical heroes. Unfortunately, in light of those musical heroes withdrawing from the show and certain personal reasons I’ve decided NOT to participate. I have spoken with the musicians involved and it’s important for the audience to know that none of them tried to influence my decision. I apologize to the folks who’ve purchased tickets with the expectation of seeing me perform. I’ll make it up to you in some way at future shows.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.