Special Consensus Plays Up A Storm!

by Craig Marshall

POW!  “You liked that one?  Well, here’s another!”  POW! 

And so it went all evening with one high-energy performance after another as the Special Consensus
band delighted its audience with great bluegrass numbers played with gusto.  Our HVBA leaders did it again by bringing in a top band to play for our local enjoyment, this time for the “Bluegrass in the Schools” program at Poughkeepsie Day School on Saturday November 20. 

I found the quality of this band would make them easy winners for a spot on the Grey Fox main stage, given their musicianship and stage presence that clearly showed that these “Grasser’s” played more like a family well tuned to each other, than individual players coming together in recent years as was the actual case.   While “fast and furious” tunes were many, they showed great variety, playing melodic ballads, Statler Brothers tunes, and even Celtic tunes which they played at their gigs in Ireland.  They also did a great number in four-part harmony which further demonstrated their versatility.  All of the members sang throughout the night, and sang well.

The band was formed in 1975 by banjoist Greg Cahill, the sole member of the original band that has attracted three of the best younger and most enthusiastic players on the bluegrass scene.  As a band based in Nashville, all four members have impressive credentials as noted in the program, individually winning contests and titles for performance and songwriting alike.  

Greg’s original “Margarita Breakdown” rivals “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” with a demonstration of great pickin’.  As a band, their “Trail of Aching Hearts” was on the Bluegrass Unlimited chart for 12 months and received rave reviews from every major bluegrass publication.  Their current album Signs has two tracks moving up the Bluegrass Unlimited chart, the title cut “Signs” and the album’s first single, “Gone To California.”

One thing was clear throughout the performance….these guys were having FUN!  And certainly that fun was imparted to me and all in the audience.  And just when I thought I had heard the best of their high-powered deliveries, they came back on stage at the end for an encore for a “way appreciative” audience, and went into “overdrive” on a number that left me breathless.  My thanks to “Special Consensus” for a great performance! 

And thanks to those who baked the delicious treats for intermission.  

I thought on the way home how fortunate we are in HVBA to experience great bluegrass musicianship right here in the Mid-Hudson Valley in a small homey venue from bands that play to huge audiences, and at a fraction of the regular ticket price!  




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