Had the good fortune to be part of a group that opened up for the Sam Bush Band this past weekend in Keystone, Co. Didn't get to do any picking with him (just barely got to meet as the stage was being switched over), but did get to swap mandos and chat for a few minutes. He told me a great story about George Gruhn.... said he was at Chet Atkin's funeral standing over the casket, and George came up and started complaning about the recent decision to remove the finish from the necks of the Sam Bush model Gibsons, "They look terrible, I can't sell them". George continued to hassle him about it for a couple of minutes until Sam finally responded, "Can we talk about this later?". He had a great impression of George, really funny story (much more elaborate and humorous than my recollection).
He had two mandos with him, a 2000 Gibson Bush model, and a newer "Fern" reproduction, with Bush appointments and a fern inlay (the one I'm holding in the picture). Both very nice mandolins. He said Hoss was just too brittle to bring in to high altitude anymore. He played my Bush model and talked about some of the design changes over the years.... flowerpot, neck shape, etc. What a super nice guy, very generous with his time and instruments. A real honor to meet one of my true mandolin heros. Thank you, Sam!