From the Bluegrass Festival held on campus every year to Denison’s Bluegrass ensemble, which lures huge crowds to Swasey Chapel every time they take the stage, bluegrass music—that lively sound of the banjo and soulful wail of the fiddle and voices—is a part of Denison’s DNA. So, really, it wasn’t much of a surprise that when Denison’s Vail Series announced that it would be hosting Grammy-winning mandolin player Sam Bush, the concert quickly sold out.
In addition to his Grammys, Bush has been honored by the International Bluegrass Music Association, received the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award, and has collaborated and played with Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, and Béla Fleck, among others.
“I feel fortunate that when it’s time to play, no matter how I feel physically or mentally, once the downbeat starts, my mind goes to a place that’s all music,” says Bush. “The joy of the music comes to me and overtakes me sometimes—I just become part of the music.”