Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Special Consensus brings it all back home

Ethan Burkhardt of Pinecastle Records reports:

American bluegrass band Special Consensus are embarking on their nth tour through Ireland after beginning bi-annual tours of the country in the early 1990s. Bandleader Greg Cahill was exposed to traditional Irish music at a young age from his grandfather, whose family came to America from the region between Killarney and Cork.

Cahill believes that they are so well received because of the close similarities in instrumentation between traditional Irish music and bluegrass. These similarities have led to Cahill lending his talents on the American banjo to many Irish music recording sessions throughout the years. Through this interaction with Irish musicians, the band has been able to add Irish songs to their repertoire. The Special Consensus have included several Irish songs on their recordings, including a medley of two songs written by Mel Corry from Lurgan, Co. Armagh, and 'Josie's Reel', written by Niall Toner, which will be included on their new release, Trail of aching hearts, that will be commercially available on 17 April.

Ireland's exposure to bluegrass music isn't limited to touring American bands. IBMA members Richard and Carol Hawkins, who reside in the Dublin area, run the Bluegrass Ireland newsletter and have created the Bluegrass Ireland Blog. In Cork, Kevin and Geraldine Gill run a fine family band and the Bluegrass in Ireland website. These websites help keep the people of Ireland informed about bluegrass news and events in Ireland as well as in Europe and the USA.

Special Consensus's tour schedule includes appearances on the Alan Simpson Show on BBC Northern Ireland at 3.00 p.m. on 10 January, and the Frank Mitchell Show on U105FM at 11.00 a.m. on 11 January.

Wed. 10th Jan. 2007: The Allen Simpson Show, BBCNI 3.00 p.m. Belfast
Thurs. 11th: The Frank Mitchell Show, U105 FM 11.00 a.m.
Thurs. 11th: Black Box, Belfast, N. Ireland
Fri. 12th: Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre, Naul, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Sat. 13th: Winter Music Weekend, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, Ireland
Sun. 14th: St John's Art Centre, Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Mon. 15th: Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork, Ireland
Tues. 16th: Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork, Ireland
Wed. 17th: Mount Zion House, Lurgan, Co. Armagh, N. Ireland
Thurs. 18th: Regal Community Theatre, Bathgate, Edinburgh, Scotland
Fri. 19th: Kenilworth Sports & Social Club, Warwickshire, England
Sat. 20th: East Anglian Bluegrass Day, Steeple Morden, Herts., England
Sun. 21st: Comfort Motel, George Street, Nottingham, England
Mon. 22nd: St Bonaventure's Club, Bishopston, Bristol, England
Tues. 23rd: Junction Hotel, Rainford Junction, England
Wed. 24th: Bronte Centre, Rathfriland, Co. Down, N. Ireland
Thurs. 25th: Barry's Pub, Grange, Co. Sligo, Ireland
Fri. 26th: Marketplace Arts Centre, Armagh, N. Ireland
Sat. 27th: Carlton Abbey Hotel, Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Sun. 28th: Colfer's, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford, Ireland

To schedule an interview or for more information, contact Ethan Burkhardt by e-mail.

This release has been edited and supplemented from local knowledge and the Special C. tour schedule on the Old Flattop website.