Enjoy bluegrass magic with The Special Consensus

BOLD STYLES—Presented by the Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Society

Having been cleverly merging their talents for quite some time now, Bluegrass masters The Special Consensus plays the Elks Lodge March 26.

Presented by the Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Association, the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Chicago born and bred, Greg Cahill (banjo/vocalist) has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s and formed The Special Consensus back in 1975. Rounding out the group are David Thomas (bass/vocals) who played guitar, mandolin and bass in Alabama bands through his teen years. He co-founded bluegrass band Roanoke in 2003 before joining The Special Consensus in 2006.

Rick Faris (mandolin/vocals) and Cape Breton Island native Ryan Roberts (guitar/vocals) both signed on in 2009.

Originally, The Special Consensus began touring in the U.S. Midwest in the mid-1970s, first releasing an album in 1979 when the guys began taking their tunes across the country. They garnered further exposure in 1984 when they initiated the Traditional American Music (TAM) Program in schools and began appearing on television and radio shows.

They’ve since appeared on The Nashville Network’s Fire On The Mountain show, toured for three seasons as part of the cast in the musical Cotton Patch Gospel and released 13 more CDs.

Several projects have landed a ‘Highlight Review’ in Bluegrass Unlimited, and Route 10 was included in the Top 10 Recordings of 2003 in both Bluegrass Now and the Chicago Tribune. Everything’s Alright (2005) was also included in the Top 10 Recordings of 2005 in Bluegrass Now.

The 2009 CD Signs climbed both the top songs and the top album charts in Bluegrass Unlimited and Bluegrass Music Profiles.

Their latest disc, 35, combines songs recorded in late 2009 along with half a dozen tunes from early Special Consensus projects that are now out of print.

The stirring a cappella gospel tune Land Up In the Air is one of the newer cuts on the CD, and clearly shows the guys’ vocal strengths as their harmonies fall perfectly in place.

That’s Tennesee edges closer to a pop/folk sensibility – a compelling, laid-back charmer from start to finish. Used to These Old Blues rolls along smoothly like a true old-time bluegrass number, again emphasizing the diversity of this dynamic group of performers.

Ultimately, they approach the art of making music from a fresh, energized perspective while holding a passion for traditional bluegrass styles. Their repertoire runs the gamut from originals to traditional standards by folks like the legendary Bill Monroe and Flatt and Scruggs.

Not wary of flexing their creative ‘muscles’ even further, they’ve even tapped into famous works from other genres such as Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies.

Meanwhile, a slate of international tours over the years have taken The Special Consensus to the UK, Canada, Europe, Ireland and South America.

Tickets for their City show are available at Red Deer Book Exchange, the Parkland Mall service desk, 53rd Street Music and the Key Hole.

They can also be picked up at Jackson’s Pharmasave in Innisfail and at Popow’s Autobody in Lacombe.

For more information about tickets, call 403-347-1363.


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