Revival: The Sam Bush Story

Revival: The Sam Bush StoryNo chronicling of contemporary bluegrass could be complete without the story of Sam Bush. From a fiddle contest champ in the ’60s, to his time with Bluegrass Alliance in the ’70s – and the launch of New Grass Revival – to Strength In Numbers and Emmylou Harris & the Nash Ramblers in the late ’80s, and finally his solo career from the ’90s forward, Bush has been an icon and a leading light among the many stellar figures in modern bluegrass and acoustic music.

During that time he has recorded and rubbed shoulders with nearly every critical figure in the genre. With Alan Munde in Poor Richard’s Almanac and Sam & Alan; with Tony Rice in Bluegrass Alliance and Manzanita; with Mark O’Connor and Edgar Meyer in Strength In Numbers; with Béla Fleck in New Grass Revival. He’s also collaborated with Alison Krauss, Del McCoury, John Hartford, Doc Watson, Dolly Parton, Scott Vestal, and many, many others.

Sam has received multiple awards from the IBMA, AMA, and the Grammy’s, and continues to draw sellout crowds at festivals and concerts all over the US.

Now, as he’s about to turn 63 next week, Bush is set to be the subject of an independent documentary titled, Revival: The Sam Bush Story. Co-directed by Kris Wheeler and Wayne Franklin, the film is set to premiere later this month during the Nashville Film Festival.

Wheeler tells us that he grew up listening to bluegrass, and is delighted to have been able to put together this project on such a legend of the music. They were able to film and interview many of Sam’s collaborators, including Alison Krauss, John Oates, Emmylou Harris, Béla Fleck, David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Jeff Hanna, Avett Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, Steep Canyon Rangers, Peter Rowan, and members of the Sam Bush Band.

He believes that they have been able to present a narrative that follows the classic mythic structure, which is likely to appeal to bluegrass/newgrass fans, as wells to anyone interested in the life and development of a stylistic superstar.

Revival will premiere April 21, with another showing April 24 during the Nashville Film Festival. Tickets go on sale today for members of the Festival, and on April 8 to the general public.

We will host the debut of the finished trailer for Revival on Wednesday (4/8) at 2:00 p.m. (EDT). Be sure to stop by Bluegrass Today at that time and see what Wheeler and Franklin have in store.

The directors hope to continue to exhibit their film on the festival circuit in 2015, so plans for online or consumer distribution have not yet been addressed. More on that as things develop.

Updates will also be posted on the film’s Facebook page.

See you here Wednesday at 2:00 for the trailer.

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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.