(Nashville TN) February 12, 2014 – Grammy-nominated Special Consensus joins forces with contemporary bluegrass music’s best on Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver slated for release on March 25. There is a natural affinity between bluegrass musicians and John Denver’s repertoire but this is the first purely bluegrass tribute to the iconic singer/songwriter who died in 1997.
Country Boy features Special Consensus at the musical center of each track with a guest cast of Grammy-winning and International Bluegrass Music Association-winning vocalists and instrumentalists joining in. Produced by Compass Records co-founder Alison Brown, the album’s 10 tracks draw from across Denver’s hits and lesser-known songs.
Talking about the genesis for the idea, band founder Greg Cahill comments: “I’ve met so many people who were affected by John’s music and so many musicians who mention him as an inspiration. It felt like a bluegrass interpretation of his songs would be something really special and might also serve as a way to connect more people to bluegrass music.”
And there is no question that the album achieves some special musical moments – both vocal and instrumental. Special Consensus mandolinist Rick Faris and reigning International Bluegrass Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year Claire Lynch share lead vocal duties on the album’s first track Wild Montana Skies, their vocal lines perfectly complemented by Rob Ickes’ Dobro. On Country Roads, Special Consensus guitarist Dustin Benson and the legendary John Cowan swap verses against a tapestry of banjo and fiddle provided by Greg Cahill and Del McCoury band fiddler Jason Carter. And, in a surprise twist, Special Consensus delivers an all instrumental version of Thank God I’m a Country Boy with the twin fiddles of label mate Michael Cleveland and session ace Buddy Spicher AND twin banjos (Greg Cahill and Alison Brown). The entire cast of featured guests includes Dale Ann Bradley, Jason Carter, Mike Cleveland, John Cowan, Rob Ickes, Jim Lauderdale, Claire Lynch, Peter Rowan, Buddy Spicher and Rhonda Vincent.
We headed to Europe for a brief tour that brought us to Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, France and Italy. We were very fortunate to have been able to see many old friends and to make many new friends on that continent between Nov 1 and Nov 10. Sincere thanks to all of the great promoters, friends and fans for making this a fabulous tour! Special thanks to Angelika Torrie for arranging the tour – we look forward to scheduling another tour soon.
We are very happy to officially welcome our new bass player Dan Eubanks! Dan has been playing with us for about two months now and he is a fantastic addition to Special C. He played bluegrass music while growing up in the St. Louis, MO area and eventually earned a Master’s in Jazz Performance degree before relocating to Nashville years ago. We are very fortunate to have a great bass player and singer join our ranks and look forward to touring and recording with Dan. Visit the Bio page to learn a bit more about Dan.
We were very surprised and honored that Scratch Gravel Road was announced as a GRAMMY nominee for Best Bluegrass Album on Wednesday, December 5, 2013. This is the first time that any of the band’s sixteen recordings has been on the “final five” nomination list, making it the first time for an official GRAMMY nomination. We sincerely thank all our friends and fans for all the support over the years, the bluegrass DJs who play our music and the Compass Records family for having us on the label and for working so hard to promote the band and our recordings. The 55th GRAMMY Award show is scheduled for Sunday, February 10, 2013.
We are honored to learn that Monroe (aka Monroe’s Doctrine) has been nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Recorded Event of the Year award. The band was joined by former Special C members Josh Williams and Chris Jones on the song, both singing on verses and choruses, and Stuart Duncan playing fiddle. It is a privilege to even be nominated for an IBMA award and we look forward to attending the IBMA Awards Show in Nashville on September 27. Fingers crossed!
We were honored to learn that Scratch Gravel Road received a Highlight Review in the July issue of Bluegrass Unlimited: “…This project is marked by a consistent excellence beginning to end. To miss it is to miss one of the best, if not the best release of the year.” In the October issue, the recording moved up to #6 on the BU Top 15 Bluegrass Albums chart. Old New Straitsville Moonshine Run is up to #17 on the BU National Bluegrass Survey chart; Monroe’s Doctrine is up to #19 on the BU Survey chart and #5 on the Bluegrass Music Profiles Sep/Oct issue chart. Yahoo!
We are honored to be playing the renowned Music City Roots show on Feb 1 with many of our good friends: Lonesome River Band, Darrell Scott, Darin & Brooke Aldridge and Chris Jones & The Night Drivers. This weekly show is produced at the Loveless Cafe Barn; first band plays at 7:00pm. Hope to see our friends and fans at this very cool event! www.musiccityroots.com
The Roots Music Report charts are compiled from radio airplay data based on number of spins for all recordings. The Top 100 Bluegrass Albums of 2011 listed “35″ at #9 and “Signs” at #86. We are so pleased to be in the airplay ranks of Alison Kraus, Rhonda Vincent, the Boxcars, Joe Diffe, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers and other fantastic bands.
Greg has been hired as an adjunct professor of banjo by Columbia College in Chicago, a highly regarded arts learning institution. The college has decided to expand the string program to include banjo and may soon also include mandolin. The music department leaders are excited about adding the banjo and Greg hopes to gradually include additional bluegrass music programming in the curriculum. Go figure – 5-string banjo classes taught at an arts college on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago!
Greg will receive the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award during the annual IBMA World of Bluegrass business conference on September 29. See complete details and list of all award nominees at www.ibma.org.
Nashville, Tenn….IBMA is proud to announce the nominees for the 22nd annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday, September 29, 2011 at Nashville, Tennessee’s historic Ryman Auditorium. Also announced at the press conference were this year’s inductees to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame – bluegrass ambassador and leader of one of the most awarded bands in the history of IBMA, Del McCoury and pioneering bass player and guitar stylist George Shuffler – and the five recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award: Greg Cahill, Bill Knowlton, Lilly Pavlak, Geoff Stelling and Roland White.