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.
Be sure to catch the Track by Track on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction with Kyle Cantrell, airing March 19 at 11AM EST.
Special Consensus was founded in 1975 by banjoist Greg Cahill as a showcase for his urban traditionalist take on bluegrass which encompasses elements of Chicago blues, swing, newgrass, and country music. Over the past 37 years, the group has seen a myriad of personnel changes and has been the breeding ground for some of the best young stars in bluegrass today; Josh Williams, Chris Jones and Robbie Fulks are just a few names in a long list of former members who have gone on to build solo careers. Special Consensus maintains a busy year round touring schedule, reaching an eclectic demographic through appearances at festivals, listening rooms, bluegrass in the schools programs and symphony appearances. Their 2012 release Scratch Gravel Road achieved a Grammy-nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.