Newgrass musician, BG native to perform at the Capitol Arts Center

Lucas Aulbach

Bluegrass musician and Bowling Green native Sam Bush will be performing in town tonight at the Capitol Arts Alliance.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and there won’t be any opening acts before his performance, said Karen Hume, the executive director of the Capitol Arts Center.

It has been seven years since Bush last played there, she said.

Hume described Bush as a “Bowling Green icon.”

Bush was born in Bowling Green in 1952 and grew up on a farm on Morgantown Road.

He then moved to Louisville to perform with other groups at bars after graduating from Warren Central High School.

“I was planning on staying here and going to WKU before I started playing in Louisville,” Bush said.

But he didn’t miss the entire WKU experience.

Bush took fiddle lessons from Betty Pease, a former music professor at WKU, before he moved.

Now he’s credited as being one of the founding fathers of “newgrass” music, a form of bluegrass music, said Corey Bonnette, marketing coordinator at Sugar Hill Records. 

His performance tonight will feature a lot of his newer music, he said.

Bush said he’s played with some members in his band for 10 years now.

There are five members in the band, including Todd Parks, who plays bass; Chris Brown, who plays drums; Stephen Mougin, who plays guitar; and Scott Vestal, who plays banjo, according to the band’s website.

Bush said they plan to play both acoustic and electric pieces at the show tonight.

“When we start really jamming, we can be pretty adventurous,” Bush said.

Bush has had a productive career in music that includes a Grammy, appearances on other performers’ albums and a performance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Bonnette said.

Bonnette said the last time Bush was in the Warren County area, it was for the International Newgrass Festival in August.

He said Bush is excited to be back.

“It’s always good for Sam to get to go back home and play,” Bonnette said.

And Bush agreed.

“I’ve been coming to the Capitol Arts Center my whole life,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll see a lot of old friends at the show.”

Tickets for the show are $25 and are available on the center’s website and at the box office, Hume said.

Tonight’s performance marks the end of a big week for Bush.

He and his band also performed on the Grand Ole Opry and Music City Roots radio programs this week.

Bush promised to give the crowd a good, long show, although he’s unsure how long that will be.