Review : Special Consensus - Scratch Gravel Road
Country Standard TimeNearly four decades after forming Chicago-based Special Consensus in 1975, banjo player Greg Cahill and his outfit continue to build on a reputation for solid, dependable traditional bluegrass through a catalog of 16 recordings. A lot of superb musicians have passed through the band over the years - Cahill is the sole remaining original member - and two of them (Chris Jones and Josh Williams) return for guest appearances on "Scratch Gravel Road."
Compass chief Alison Brown (who also produced) and fiddler par excellence Stuart Duncan sit in as well, but mostly it's just Cahill and his current lineup (Rick Faris, mandolin; Dustin Benson, guitar; David Thomas, bass) doing what they do best. Cahill pretty much sticks to the banjo, but the other three are all quality lead vocalists, and their harmonies are among the best the band in the band's long history....full text
Engine 145The first quarter of 2012 has brought a wealth of enjoyable new albums that have filled our ears and emptied our wallets. Special Consensus’ vibrant new record, their sixteenth, might be the best of that bunch.
Over the course of its 37 years, Special Consensus has had its share of personnel changes, with several of the group’s former members now leading their own successful bluegrass bands: Special C alumni Josh Williams and Chris Jones return on Scratch Gravel Road, lending their voices to “Monroe,” an affectionate tribute to the father of bluegrass. Fiddler Stuart Duncan and banjo whiz/producer Alison Brown, the album’s other two guests, contribute to a couple of fantastic instrumentals; “Jacklene,” Brown and Special Consensus founding member Greg Cahill’s twin banjo romp, is two-and-a-half minutes of pure picking prowess....full text
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- 1. Monroe
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