Track Premiere: Blackbird from Special Consensus

Special Consensus is back with their first new music in two years, and a fresh band sound courtesy of two new regular members.

The band is headed by banjo picker Greg Cahill, as Special C has been for its entire 47 year run, and welcomes Greg Blake on guitar and Michael Prewitt on mandolin since their last project, Chicago Barn Dance, in 2020. Dan Eubanks remains on bass, now in his ninth year with the group.

A new single is available this week, Blackbird, from noted Cape Breton singer and songwriter, J.P. Cormier, who included it on his 2007 album, Another Morning. Here Blake sings the song, while his bandmates give it a thoroughgoing contemporary bluegrass treatment. Guest vocalists Amanda Smith and Dale Ann Bradley provide harmonies, with reso-guitar from Rob Ickes and second banjo from producer, Alison Brown.

Cahill expressed his satisfaction with how the new record is going.

“I am so excited to showcase the vocal and instrumental talents of our new band members, Greg and Michael, on this single. Blackbird will give our fans an introduction to Special C’s new sound, as well as a sense of the fun we’re having working on our 21st band album. We are thoroughly enjoying making music together, on the road and in the studio, and I think we really captured that fresh energy on the new single.”

Special C does a bang up job with this one, including some extended soloing at the end that finds Greg, Alison, Michael, and Rob trading licks, before indulging in a bit of banjo twinning.

Check it out.

Blackbird from Special Consensus will be available Friday, March 25 on Compass Records at popular download and streaming services online.

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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.