Laps in Seven
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2006, Volume 13, #6
Written by John Metzger
On his latest solo effort Laps in Seven, Sam Bush continues to refine all of the genre-busting moves that he has made since founding the revolutionary New Grass Revival in 1972. Just within the span of the album’s opening trio of tunes, he and Emmylou Harris reconnect for an impassioned duet amidst the driving rock of The River’s Gonna Run; he steams through the spry bluegrass of Bringing in the Georgia Mail; and he settles into the ethereal beauty of the instrumental The Dolphin Dance. Elsewhere, he places his own country-imbued spin upon Robbie Fulks’ Where There’s a Road, and he effortlessly navigates through the non-traditional time signatures that anchor both the energetic title track as well as a cover of John Hartford’s On the Road.
Throughout Laps in Seven, Bush and his stellar backing band — which includes bass player Byron House, guitarist Keith Sewell, and banjoist Scott Vestal, along with guest appearances by Buddy Miller, Tim O’Brien, Jean Luc Ponty, and Little Feat’s Shaun Murphy — deliver a lively mixture of intricate instrumental and harmonic textures that culminate with the melancholy refrains of David and Linda LaFlamme’s White Bird. To his credit, Bush successfully avoided becoming mired within the radio-friendly fare that tempered the finer moments on his 2004 endeavor King of My World, but his scattershot approach is equally problematic in that there’s nothing to bind together cohesively his otherwise superb material. Like many of Bush’s outings, Laps in Seven contains numerous individual passages that are richly rewarding, but its contents are so erratically jumbled that the album ultimately feels like an incomplete thought. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box