First Listen

First Listen: New Music From Sam Bush

Stream “Transcendental Meditation Blues” from new album Storyman

Sam Bush is as close to a living legend as there is in roots music. One of the originators of progressive bluegrass, the Bowling Green, Kentucky, native is a masterful fiddle and mandolin player with a stellar collection of solo material, plus friends and collaborators the likes of Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, and Bela Fleck.

He could keep churning out traditional bluegrass records until the lights go out and no one would think any less of him. For his new album Storyman (out June 24), Bush pushes the boundaries a bit, incorporating hints of jazz, reggae, blues, and country swing. The album also marks the first time that Bush wrote or co-wrote all of the material, reteaming with Harris as well as working with Jeff Black, and the late Guy Clark, among others.

There are still cuts that sound unmistakably like Sam Bush, though. “Transcendental Meditation Blues” is a heart-warming tale of riding a roasting-hot, beat-up Greyhound bus to meet a girl in Louisville. That girl, Lynn, has been Bush’s wife for the past 31 years. While change may be good, so is staying the same. The album is available for pre-order, but you can enjoy an exclusive premiere below.