Special Consensus ready for Europe

It’s that time of year; well, every other year.

As we welcome the new year Special Consensus are busy getting ready for a tour of the UK and Ireland, “26 straight days of traveling and performing on the same day”, says Greg Cahill, veteran leader of Special C.

Ever since 1995 the band has undertaken a bi-annual tour of Ireland and the UK; the forthcoming visit, adding to what Cahill guestimates is “somewhere around 12 or 15” previous visits.

Even as a regular Cahill is feeling a little daunted by their itinerary, with no time for the diary that the band often keeps and shares with BluegrassToday.com he says, “We arrive in Dublin on January 10th, begin our performance schedule on January 12th in Dun Laoughaire and play every day until February 6th”.

Well, there’s play and there’s play! Thankfully, to start with, the band members have the opportunity to charge their batteries during those first few days before their first gig acknowledges Cahill, “We are bringing our wives (and Nick’s girlfriend) for the first five days so we can enjoy time together with them in Ireland”.

……   and there’s play! Greg Cahill plays banjo and sings baritone and tenor harmony vocals; Rick Faris plays guitar and sings lead, baritone, tenor and high baritone vocals; Dan Eubanks plays bass and sings lead, baritone and bass vocals; and Nick Dumas plays mandolin and sings lead, baritone and tenor. It will be the second tour of Europe by this aggregation. Their trip last October-November (2016) embraced eight countries in 13 days.

The full tour details for the IBMA award winners, Grammy nominees and Compass Records recording artists are as follows…

  • Thursday, January 12th: Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, 8.30 pm.
  • Friday, January 13th: Baker’s Bar, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, 7.30 pm.
  • Saturday, January 14th: Leap Castle, Co. Offaly (near Roscrea, Co. Tipperary), 8.30 pm.
  • Sunday, January 15th: St John’s Theatre, Listowel, Co. Kerry, 8.00 pm.
  • Monday, January 16th: The Anvil Inn, Portarlington, Co. Laois, 8.30 pm.
  • Tuesday, January 17th: Matt Molloy’s, Bridge St., Westport, Co. Mayo, 8.30 pm.
  • Wednesday, January 18th: Strand Bar Roots Room, Strandhill, Co. Sligo, 8.30 pm.
  • Thursday, January 19th: Dicey Reilly’s Pub & Off-Licence, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, 8.30 pm.
  • Friday, January 20th: Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, 8.00 pm.
  • Saturday, January 21st: Campbell’s Tavern, Headford, Co. Galway, 9.00 pm.
  • Sunday, January 22nd: Shannonside Winter Music Festival, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, 3.00 pm.
  • Monday, January 23rd: Colfers Pub, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford, 8.30 pm.
  • Tuesday, January 24th: Alma Tavern Theatre, Bristol, 8.00 pm.
  • Wednesday, January 25th: Junction Hotel, Rainford, St. Helens, 8.00 pm.
  • Thursday, January 26th Bolehall Manor Club, Tamworth, 8.30 pm.
  • Friday, January 27th: Taliesen Arts Centre, Swansea, 7.30 pm.
  • Saturday, January 28th: Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton,
  • Sunday, January 29th: Green Note, London, 8.30 pm.
  • Monday, January 30th:  Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 8.00 pm.
  • Tuesday, January 31st: The Red Room, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, 8.30 pm.
  • Thursday, February 2nd: The Errigle Inn, Belfast, 8.30 pm.
  • Friday, February 3rd: Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, 8.00 pm.
  • Saturday, February 4th: Market Place Theatre, Armagh city, 8.00 m.
  • Sunday, February 5th: Banteer Theatre, Banteer, Co. Cork, 8.00 pm.
  • Monday, February 6th: Village Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork, 8.00 pm.

Once again Nigel Martyn, of the Old Flat Top agency, will serve as driver during the tour.

Richard Hawkins of the Bluegrass Ireland blog describes this as their most ambitious Irish visit to date …….

“A tour by the Special Consensus has been a highlight of the bluegrass year in Ireland ever since Greg first brought the band over in 1995. He and his colleagues have made many friends here, and we’ll continue to welcome them as long as they’re prepared to keep coming. We’re delighted that this year the Special Consensus wives will also be here for the first part of the tour.”

Greg Cahill echoes Richard Hawkins’ thoughts about the shared friendships …..

“We are all very much looking forward to the tour – we have so many good friends and fans after so many visits over there that it is akin to coming for a family visit.”

While we are sure that the tour will be a big success, what is clear is that a bluegrass bands’ working life is very far from being an easy one, despite the rewards.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.