10 Songs, 41 Minutes


About Special Consensus

Formed by banjoist Greg Cahill back in 1975, the Special Consensus have endured myriad personnel changes to survive for three-and-a-half decades; their music strikes a balance between the traditional and progressive schools of bluegrass. When Cahill and the Special Consensus began recording for Turquoise in 1990 (Hey, Y'all), their lineup featured guitarist Martin Marrone, bassist Dallas Wayne, and fiddler Al Murphy; by the time of 1993's Green Rolling Hills, it had been altered to include Cahill, Marrone, bassist Darren Wilcox, and mandolin players Drew Carson and Don Stiernberg. The group switched to the Pinecastle label in 1996 for Strong Enough to Bend, which featured Cahill, mandolin player Colby Maddox, fiddler Aubrey Haynie, and bassist Diana Phillips; the follow-up, 1998's Our Little Town, retained Cahill and Maddox and added guitarist Chris Walz and bassist Andrea Roberts. Pinecastle released the 25th Anniversary collection and affiliated video in 2000, followed by another full-length album, Route 10, in 2002. The Special Consensus continued recording for Pinecastle as the decade progressed, issuing Everything’s Alright in 2005, The Trail of Aching Hearts in 2007, and Signs in 2009. By the start of the 2010s, the group had undergone even more personnel changes, as always still featuring Cahill but with three new bandmembers: mandolinist Rick Faris, bassist David Thomas, and guitarist Dustin Benson. The band celebrated 35 years of bluegrass performing and recording with the release of the appropriately titled 35 collection on Compass Records in 2010. A new studio LP, Scratch Gravel Road, appeared two years later in 2012, and landed the group a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album of the year. Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver dropped in 2014, followed in 2016 by Long I Ride, the latter of which celebrated the band's 40th anniversary. ~ Steve Huey

Chicago, IL