Sam Bush Ice Caps: Peaks Of Telluride

Mandolin player Bush played his first Telluride Bluegrass Festival 26 years ago and hasn't missed a year since. The Fest is only 27 years old, so he holds the record for most-ever appearances. The 14 tracks here were recorded between 1992 and 1999, and run the gamut from unplugged duets to plugged in bands and touches on bluegrass, country, blues, folk, rock, pop and lots of jam-y stuff. Along with Jerry Douglas on Dobro, he offers a fine version of Bob Dylan's "Girl From The North Country." Bush self-deprecatingly bills himself as Jeffro Beck on a sizzling version of Sonny Landreth's "Speak Of The Devil," where he absolutely smokes on electric mandolin. He gets help from folks like Bela Fleck, John Cowan (both previously members of the New Grass Revival, along with Sam), Byron House and Darrell Scott. Bush and Cowan deliver a splendid version of Lowell George's "Sailin' Shoes." Other covers come from John Hiatt, Van Morrison and Leon Russell. They even tackle Kool and the Gang's "Celebrate," near the end. Even though many of the numbers are stretched out jams, there's none of the self-indulgent goofiness and showiness of bands like Phish. And just to show that's he more than a one-trick-pony, Bush plays some dandy fiddle on several numbers. (Sugar Hill)