Special Consensus tribute to John Denver

Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver - Special ConsensusCompass Records announced earlier today that the next album from Special Consensus would be a star-studded tribute to popular 1970s singer/songwriter John Denver.

Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver will feature  the current Speial C, along with guest appearances from Dale Ann Bradley, Jason Carter, Mike Cleveland, John Cowan, Rob Ickes, Jim Lauderdale, Claire Lynch, Peter Rowan, Buddy Spicher and Rhonda Vincent.

It will include many of Denver’s biggest hits, including Take Me Home Country Roads, Sunshine On My Shoulders, Back Home Again, Back Home Again, and a twin-banjo instrumental version of the title track.

Special C founder, banjo player and elder statesman Greg Cahill says that they have been thinking about this idea for a while.

Greg Cahill - photo by Bill Warren“A friend of mine, Rick Spratt, mentioned the concept to me a few years ago. We were getting ready to record Scratch Gravel Road so the timing was not right. But I did think it was a great idea, not only because I and many of the people I know were John Denver fans, but also because it seemed like a great opportunity to ‘cross market’ bluegrass music to fans of John Denver, country music, folk music and even pop music.

Hopefully this will be the case and it will help initiate many more fans of bluegrass music. When I mentioned this concept to my good friends Barb and Tom Laing (from Michigan), they graciously offered to provide the necessary finances to get into the studio to make the recording and when I discussed it with Alison Brown, she was all for it (as a John Denver fan herself, as was Compass co-founder Garry West), and agreed not only to make it our next Compass Records release but also to once again be our producer.

Ironically, all of this came about in 2013, the 40 year anniversary of the release of the Will The Circle Be Unbroken recording, which prompted us to consider asking many of our bluegrass artist friends to join us on what we believe is the very first actual tribute recording of all John Denver songs. The proverbial icing on the cake was when everyone we asked to sing or play a song or two on the recording graciously agreed to participate.

We are very excited about this recording because it is truly a tribute to John Denver, whose music did influence many of today’s bluegrass artists and fans.”

Compass has released this video of a live performance of Wild Montana Skies, sung by Special C’s Rick Faris, with help from Claire Lynch and Rob Ickes.


In addition to Cahill on banjo and Faris on mandolin, Dustin Benson is on guitar and Dan Eubanks on bass.

Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver is set for a March 25 release, with pre-orders available now from the Compass web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.