The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) held the annual IBMA Awards Show on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC. As award nominees, we enjoyed walking the red carpet prior to the event and we spoke with our great friend Katy Daley of Washington, DC-based WAMU. Two songs from our March 2014 Compass Records release “Country Boy; A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” were nominated for awards: “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” was nominated for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year (with guest fiddlers Buddy Spicher and Michael Cleveland and banjo player Alison Brown) and “Wild Montana Skies” was nominated for Recorded Event of the Year (with guest vocalist Claire Lynch and dobro player Rob Ickes). We were completely surprised when we were announced as the recipient of the instrumental performance award winner and then shocked to hear us announced as the recipient of the recorded event award soon thereafter. It is a huge honor to win these awards, especially since they are voted on by our peers in the world of bluegrass music. We truly could not have made this recording without the support of Alison Brown and Garry West and the entire Compass Records staff who all work so hard for all their artists. Alison Brown is a superb producer who shared her great arrangement ideas, helped us pull together all our friends/special guest musicians who appeared on the recording and who kept us on track (pun intended) and focused. We are forever grateful to our longtime friends and Executive Producers Tom and Barb Laing for providing the financial support that made the recording possible, and we thank our good friend Rick Spratt for planting the seed of the concept for the recording. Dave Royko wrote excellent liner notes (nominated for Best Liner Notes) and our musician friends who graciously contributed their awesome talents to the recording include Dale Ann Bradley, Jason Carter, Michael Cleveland, John Cowan, Rob Ickes, Jim Lauderdale, Claire Lynch, Peter Rowan, Buddy Spicher, Rhonda Vincent and our Producer, Alison Brown. Thanks to all of the radio personalities who play our music, to our families who put up with our intense tour schedule and to our friends and fans around the world who have supported Special C throughout the band’s career – we would not be here today without your support!
We are extremely pleased that our new “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” recording debuted at #4 on the huge Billboard Top Best Selling Albums Chart. Very happy about that!
The April issue of the IBMA newsletter International Bluegrass has a nice article about the new Special C recording. Here is the link to the newsletter:
Here is a link to an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on March 25, the release date for our new Compass Records recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver”: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-special-consensus-review-20140324,0,2564143.story.
Here is a link to view a video of us playing Wild Montana Skies with guests Claire Lynch singing and Rob Ickes playing dobro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VZLyqc8f5Y&feature=youtu.be .
For a look behind the scenes about the making of our new “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” on the Compass Records label, follow this link:
(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!