CD Review: Special Consensus-Scratch Gravel Road

I love this CD. Everything about this album is top notch; arrangements, production, singing and playing by the band. Did I leave anything out? Each song has been crafted to unique perfection and the album contains a wide diversity of material. The truly impressive songs come from such great writers as Harley Allen, Mark Brinkman, Becky Buller, Tim Stafford, Jon Weisberger, Tom T. Hall, Billy Smith, Craig Market and Ryan Roberts.

Greg Cahill does so many things so well. He’s a top notch banjo player and band leader who consistently keeps Special C’s music at the highest levels.  Rick Faris, David Thomas, and Dustin Benson are the current band members complementing Greg and all I can say is, “Greg, you have chosen wisely.” AND, by the way, he’s also a really nice person.

This is a talented bunch that have come together, along with Alison Brown of Compass Records, to produce a classic recording. There are guest appearances by Josh Williams and Chris Jones singing verses of a song about the Father of Bluegrass called “Monroe,” and Stuart Duncan plays some wonderful fiddle on an instrumental written by Dustin, “Mollie & Julie’s Reel.” There is also a fantastic instrumental written by Greg, “Jacklene,” that features an amazing banjo solo and twin parts by Alison Brown.

“Sunday Morning Without You”

Dustin sings lead on “Sunday Morning Without You” and the bluesy “Shoulda Took A Train” and Rick takes the lead on “Trouble Let Me Be.” The entire band joins in singing a  four part harmony on the intricate a cappella Gospel number “On My Way To The Kingdom Land.” David sings lead on the beautiful country ballad “Old New Straitsville Moonshine Run” as well as “My Memories Of You” and on my personal favorite “A Good Problem To Have,” written by Harley Allen.  Rick does a fine job singing the old Don Gibson number “Sea Of Heartbreak” along with Becky Buller’s edgy “Scratch Gravel Road.”

I know I said this already, but I really LOVE this CD!

Compass Records Group

Jerry Oland

Former HVBA Board Member, banjo player with Buddy Merriam & Back Roads, Blue Plate Special, Bear Acker & Billings Gap, Wildcat Creek, Wheelhoss and the Arm Brothers, currently freelance banjoist with the Hayrollers, the Jupiter Lighthouse Porch Band, novice fiddler, and part-time real estate magnate.

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