The title song leads off this CD and demonstrates the level of dedication the Pinecastle label has to meticulously engineered recordings. As with their other releases this time out (Ernie Thacker and Nothin' Fancy), Special Consensus is a superb bluegrass outfit in a classic vein but with more than enough modern sensibilities to attract every ear in this now pleasantly fractionating genre. The vocals are spotless, the playing as shiny as a newly minted penny, and music like this is the reason people come to love bluegrass
As with Thacker and Nothin' Fancy, there are no percussive instruments, and the entire CD works just fine without 'em, thank you very much. The entire emphasis is on strings and vocals, sometimes paced, other times burning, as on Lonesome Lesson Learned and Snowball Breakdown. And, hell, I may be irreligious, but I always love a good Jesus tune, and bluegrass has always carried a ton of 'em. Here, Footprints and What A Beautiful Day (for the Lord to Come Again) fill the bill mighty fine, especially Footprints, a take on the iconic poem.
Special Consensus approaches this hallowed American musical form with boundless energy and an aesthetic reverence that tickles the ribs, tugs at the heart, and puts a restless two-step in boots and bare feet. The lead cut, Signs, is emblematic of the entire CD, bursting with high spirits, energy refusing to sit still, precision so tight you can set your watch by it, and pure musicality so infectious that there lives nary a soul that will be able to turn its born and bred ears from tilting leeward to get a better listen.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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