King of My World

Sam Bush

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King of My World Review

by William Ruhlmann

King of My World is only Sam Bush's fifth solo album in the last 19 years, but it's also his fourth in the last eight years, reflecting his movement from leadership of New Grass Revival, which packed it in 1989, to a solo career. Still, making solo albums is not a primary activity for this in-demand session musician, so it's always nice when he takes the time out to make a record as a leader. King of My World, featuring a backup band including Jon Randall Stewart (guitar), Byron House (bass), and Chris Brown (drums), with additional contributions from Brad Davis (guitar), Reese Wynans (keyboards), Andrea Zonn (fiddle), and Larry Atamanuik (drums), is a typical showcase for Bush, a renowned fiddle and mandolin player who demonstrates a perfectly adequate singing voice on several tracks here. One of the typical -- but still impressive -- aspects of the recording is Bush's eclecticism, which draws elements of jazz and even South African music (on Johnny Clegg's "Spirit Is the Journey") into the bluegrass orbit. Bush and his comrades are fleet pickers, but they are much more than that, combining bluegrass with other styles into a fusion that earns them the name (once derisively bestowed by a bemused listener to New Grass Revival) of "The Mahavishnu Mountain Boys," i.e., a country-styled version of the '70s jazz-rock fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

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