King of My World
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2004, Volume 11, #6
Written by John Metzger
As a founding member of New Grass Revival, Sam Bush pioneered a whole new direction for bluegrass, and since embarking upon a solo career in 1985, he’s taken an even wider approach to his music by incorporating elements of folk, country, world, jazz, and rock into his songs. His fifth solo outing King of My World continues down this same genre-bending path as he, along with a first rate ensemble — which features guitarist Brad Davis, bass player Byron House, and drummer Chris Brown with occasional input from keyboard player Reese Wynans, fiddler Andrea Zonn, guitarist John Randall Stewart, and drummer Larry Atamanuik — turn original compositions as well as covers from Grandpa Jones, Jeff Black, and Johnny Clegg into an eclectic stew of sophisticated sounds. There are moments when the group utterly misses the mark by turning in generic fare (A Better Man, King of the World) that seems crafted for placement on mainstream country radio, but when it digs in its heels for some serious picking, King of My World truly takes flight. The instrumental Puppies ’n Knapsacks; the Salsa-tinged Bananas; the driving groove of They’re Gonna Miss Me when I’m Gone; and the Little Feat-meets-The Band boogie of Bless His Heart, for example, all highlight the ensemble’s extraordinarily fluid and inventive approach without belying the fun-filled exhilaration of an afternoon jam session among friends. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box