New Sam Bush Album Pays Tribute to John Hartford

Sam Bush announces a new album today, which is likely to be of great interest to folk and roots music fans. The disc, Radio John: Songs of John Hartford, is due November 11 via Smithsonian Folkways.

Hartford was a friend, influence, and mentor to Bush early in his career. To pay tribute, Bush has dug into Hartford’s catalog to record not only his favorites but also songs that he and Hartford played together in the 1970s.

According to a press release, “Bush plays every instrument—acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, electric bass, fiddle—on every cut except the big, full band finale “Radio John,” the collection’s one original song and a tribute to Hartford that Bush wrote with John Pennell. … Bush first conceived of the album on a pre-pandemic trip with his wife to the Florida panhandle. He had brought an array of instruments and began playing around with songs from the vast Hartford catalog. He intended to record demos for his band, but, as he jokes, “in true Sam style, lack of engineering skills and patience, I was having a rough time overdubbing by myself.”

The lead single from the disc, Bush’s turn on “In Tall Buildings,” leads with his signature mandolin before leaning into a more country-rhythm guitar and vocals. It would be an excellent rendition on its own, but knowing Bush handled all the instrumentation and vocals himself, makes it a remarkable achievement.

“In Tall Buildings” is available HERE

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