SPECIAL CONSENSUS are a bluegrass band, but one with a difference. Instead of coming from the music’s heartland of the Southern US States, they come from Chicago.
Not only that but their sound encompasses elements of Chicago blues, swing, newgrass, and country music. Then again, as the founding father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe stated, the music was never about purity, it was always a melting pot.
“It’s Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin’,” he said. “It’s Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It’s blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound. It’s plain music that tells a good story. It’s played from my heart to your heart, and it will touch you. Bluegrass is music that matters.”
Special Consensus was founded in 1975 by banjoist Greg Cahill - who is also the current president of the International Bluegrass Music Association - as a showcase for his urban traditionalist’s take on bluegrass.
Over the past 35 years, the group have seen myriad personnel changes and has been the breeding ground for some of the best bluegrass talent, such as Josh Williams, Chris Jones, and Robbie Fulks.
The band have enjoyed great commercial success and critical acclaim. “Special Consensus is a superb bluegrass outfit in a classic vein...the vocals are spotless, the playing as shiny as a newly minted penny, and music like this is the reason people come to love bluegrass,” said Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange.
The Chicago Tribune declared: “Special Consensus may be Chicago’s very own veteran bluegrass band, but talent like this is the property of the world.”
The current line up is Greg Cahill (banjo and vocals ), Rick Faris (mandolin and vocals ), David Thomas (bass and vocals ), and Ryan Roberts (guitar and vocals ) and they are on tour promoting their latest album 35.
The album is a high powered bluegrass set which includes six new tracks and six tracks compiled from now out of print releases featuring lead vocals from some of the band’s former members.
Special Consensus play The Crane Bar, Sea Road, on Friday January 28 at 9pm. For tickets contact The Crane on 091 - 587419 or see www.thecranebar.com