Sam Bush continues to deliver great entertainment with his well-known virtuoso mandolin, solid guitar and fiddle playing, and competent vocals. The excellent opening track here, Julie Millers "The Rivers Gonna Run," is more like rock than bluegrass. But grass is just around the bend; track 2, Fred Roses "Bringing in the Georgia Mail," hits overdrive. Fueled in large part by Scott Vestals high-octane banjo pickin, its got an energy-packed acoustic-guitar solo by Keith Sewell and interesting standup-bass licks by Byron House. Add Chris Browns fine job on drums, and youve got the band, with only occasional additions or subtractions. Those two songs represent the disc pretty well musically, except that a couple tracks are instrumental. Remember "White Bird" by the late-'60s/early-'70s rock band Its a Beautiful Day? ("White bird must fly or she will die?") It is the 11th of this discs 12 tracks. Andrea Zonn does the original Pattie Santos vocal to Bushs David LaFlamme in an arrangement that adds violin and viola. Also included are John Hartfords "On the Road" and Leon Russells "Ballad for a Soldier." The recording quality and mix are good throughout; you can distinguish the individual instruments well.
Bushs slower songs usually add an R&B or gospel sound rather than the occasional moving melody that would add greatly to his repertoire. The driving-rhythms/speedy-tempos/lightning-solos approach also dominates Bushs recently released On the Road DVD -- 16 onstage tracks from the Big Room at the Sierra Nevada Brewery. Good stuff, but not as consistent as Laps in Seven.
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