Times are hard. There an album like Storyman just comes in the nick of time. Positive mood is good for the soul. Even in less hard times than today. It is by no means all peace, joy, and egg cakes in the songs of Sam Bush on Storyman. At least the songs, however, tell of optimism, and this also in the case of the song Carcinoma Blues, which states Cancer, you ain’t rulin’ me. This blues refers to the so far survived cancer of the 64-year-old multi-instrumentalist and Father of Newgrass and his co-author for this song Guy Clark.
Guy Clark is one of those friends of Sam Bush, with whom songs came into being during 40 years writing bluegrass and later newgrass history. These co-authors include Jon Randall Stewart and Emmylou Harris. The long-standing members of the Sam Bush band are Todd Parks (bass), Stephen Mougin (guitar), Scott Vestal (banjo) and Chris Brown (drums). An instrumental highlight on the album Storyman is the mandolin, masterly played by Sam Bush, who has been named as the Mandolin player of the year.
There is not only "Newgrass" to be found on Storyman but also Jazz, folk, blues, reggae, country swing, and bluegrass, which merge seamlessly into "Sam Bush Sound". It is important for Sam Bush that the songs of an album match, that is, form a whole work and not a series of loose ideas. To create such a whole work, that is to tell a coherent story, it takes its time, in case of Storyman whole four years. And what is important is the joy of all parties involved in making music together.
A positive mood propagates with the introductory Play By Your Own Rules coming in the pure newgrass style and Everything Is Possible in the form of a reggae that is fully on the sunny side of the road.
Bowling Green, so to speak the pastoral of the album, takes the listener into the middle of farm life with lively, joyful fiddle tunes, in the sense of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony with a "funny get-together of the country people".
Together with Sam Bush's friend Emmylou Harris Handmics Killed Country Music, a twin fiddle-driven country song of the old school, was created. Purely instrumental is Greenbrier, a bluegrass title and the fiddle-dominated jazz / funk song It's Not What You Think.
Alison Krauss ennobles Lefty's Song with her bluegrass voice, which splendidly harmonizes with the slide Dobro mandolin played by Sam Bush virtuously. The Chicago Blues Where's My Love lives from the sound of the deeply tuned banjo before it's happily blended into Storyman's final spurt.
Even if the sun does not shine non-stop in this album like the real life, it carries so much joy in the form of the high-resolution download that it is good for an elixir to bring light into the darkness of the present and joy among the people.