Sam Bush set for Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series |

Sam Bush set for Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series

Luke Graham
The Sam Bush Band will play the second Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series on Friday at Howelsen Hill.

— Sam Bush has seen the transformation of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival up close and personal.

As the “King of Telluride” returned to the 40th rendition last month — and his 39th straight — Bush wasn’t surprised to see some of the acts.

It’s not all about good, old-fashioned bluegrass anymore. The genre has crept its way into the mainstream and Telluride has followed suit.

Dispatch was in the lineup and Mumford & Sons was supposed to play before a health emergency scratched them.

For Bush, who plays the second Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series on Friday at Howelsen Hill, it’s a good thing.

“They are drawing in fans of acoustic music,” he said. “They’re making fans out of people who haven’t heard much acoustic. They’re bringing new elements into the music. Just as importantly they’re bringing in new listeners.”

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. There is a happy hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with two-for-one drinks.

Old Town Pickers open the show at 6 p.m.

On the contrary, you won’t see Bush straying from his roots. He’s still a Kentucky boy drawn in by impromptu jam sessions and the purity of a guitar, mandolin and fiddle.

“I’m pretty hard-headed with what I don’t play,” he said. “I’ll say ‘Let’s haul off and play a bluegrass number.’ It’s on how we play bluegrass.”

So it goes for the Grammy award-winning artist. He’s the King of Telluride and King of Newgrass.

He still considers John Hartford’s 1971 “Aereo-Plain” the greatest album of all time.

“It doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.

For Bush, coming back to Colorado always is a good thing. While he resides in Nashville, Tenn., Bush said Colorado is a second home. From nearly four decades at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, to rocking mountain towns across the state, Bush always enjoys coming back.

And he expects to be in the studio by the end of the year to record a new album, his first since 2009’s “Circles Around Me.”

“It’s that kind of thing where I look up and realize it’s been a few years since I’ve put one out. I’ve been busy being on the road,” he said. “But playing live shows is the most enjoyable experience for me. It’s getting out, having fun.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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