On Route 10, Special Consensus' music ranges from rollicking, old-time bluegrass (Ron Spears' "Say You'll Stay in My Arms") to sad sack country, complete with Top 40 vocals (the drunk-driving tale, "Amy and Trevor," for example). When engaged in the former, like on their version of Brandon Rickman's burning O Brother, Where Art Thou?-worthy "Rounder's Spirit," Special Consensus is virtually unstoppable -- unleashing a toe-tapping reverie of good feelings and dusty days. But with the latter, the band sounds far too everyday, and their unique talents are lost in the overly slick production and clichéd themes. Luckily, for the most part, Special Consensus sticks with the bluegrass, and the shuffling -- if somewhat pedestrian -- story of "Bobby and Sarah" (by Daniel Irl Hees) makes up for "Amy and Trevor."
Performance CreditsSpecial Consensus Primary Artist
Greg Cahill Banjo,Vocal Harmony
Rob Ickes Guitar (Resonator)
Jamie Clifton Guitar,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Ron Stewart Fiddle
Josh Williams & High Gear Mandolin,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Tim Dishman Bass,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Technical CreditsTom Riggs Executive Producer
Brent Truitt Producer,Engineer
Bob Murray Art Direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Route 10 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
The Special Consensus is a masterful and innovative bluegrass quartet that has come a long way since it first started performing in the Midwest in the mid-seventies. Through hard work and perseverance, the dues have long been paid, and this band has now achieved an international reputation as a very solid and popular professional touring band. Their new album features the core group of Greg Cahill (banjo), Josh Williams (mandolin), Tim Dishman (bass), and Jamie Clifton (guitar). They are joined by seasoned accompanists Rob Ickes on resonator guitar, and Ron Stewart on fiddle. My only minor suggestion would've been to add these two guests more prominently into the mix, especially on this album's two instrumentals. "Route 10" contains a diverse variety of songs, best classified as contemporary bluegrass with gospel quartet (Claire Lynch's "Come Unto Me") and swing (Paul Craft's "I'll Believe the Lie") offerings served up with expert flair. Musically sophisticated, these guys know how to infuse infectious energy into their songs and arrangements. Every single cut is a winner that deserves airplay, although the Ron Spears composition "Say You'll Stay in my Arms" and Michael Martin Murphey's "Carolina in the Pines" are probably the two most "special" showpieces that DJs will achieve "consensus" on as deserving places on the bluegrass charts. On this album, Greg Cahill, originally from Chicago, really tears up his original composition, "Chahill Special," with the other band members also trading off some hot licks to share in the virtuositic fun. Cahill is the original founder of the band and currently serves as the group's senior member. He has assembled some young and flashy talent to give the band a brilliant, fresh sound. Guitarist Jamie Clifton, from Oklahoma, has won several guitar contests including the prestigious Oklahoma State flatpicking championship in 1990. From 1995-2000, he performed with the bluegrass gospel band, The New Tradition, before joining The Special Consensus in 2001. On this CD, Clifton sings lead on three songs (If I Could Only Have Your Love, Bobby and Sarah, and Come Unto Me). He also demonstrates his songwriting skills with "Amy and Trevor," a beautiful but very sad song about a man's family lost as a result of his driving under the influence. Bassplayer Tim Dishman, from Indiana but with family roots in Alabama and West Virginia, joined The Special Consensus in 1999. He offers his lead vocals to one cut, "The Old Man in the Park," on this project. Finally, mandolinist and primary lead vocalist Josh Williams is a young talent that shows boundless artistic promise. By age twelve, he had won banjo, mandolin, guitar and dobro awards. He joined The Special Consensus in 1999. His self-penned instrumental composition, "This Ain't Alabama, Uncle George," is a hard-driving picker's delight that just makes me want to sit up straight and say "Wow!" Williams sings expressive lead on six of this album's songs. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)