Friday, October 1, 1993
The Special Consensus: Green Rolling Hills (Turquoise Records)
Chicago is a tough place to keep a bluegrass band together, but banjoist Greg Cahill has managed to keep the Special Consensus afloat for nearly two decades, and their latest disc, "Green Rolling Hills," makes one hope for another 20 years.
The current lineup includes Drew Carson on mandolin, Darren Wilcox on bass and vocals, and Martin Marrone on guitar and vocals, and they are deft at blending bluegrass, newgrass, blues and swing in a distinctive sound. Carson is a pithy soloist, and Cahill is nutty as ever, especially when a flurry of double-time notes spring sparkling from his banjo and threaten to fly out the window.
The lead singing is good, the harmony vocals excellent, and the fresh and novel program includes a truly obscure Bill Monroe instrumental, "Heel and Toe Polka," an appropriate choice for Cahill, who got his start playing accordion as a kid.
David Duckman [David Royko]