ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Greg Cahill just blinked … and suddenly realized that 40 years with the bluegrass band The Special Consensus have zoomed by.
“Forty years! It’s pretty scary. I don’t know how it happened,” Cahill said in a phone interview from his home in Chicago.
He’s the remaining founding member of the quartet whose 2012 release “Scratch Gravel Road” received a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.
Cahill, who sings and plays banjo, said the band began to think about what its next album would be. For a while the players wondered, “How do you follow up a Grammy nomination?”
They finally settled on an idea suggested by a friend – honor the late John Denver, a New Mexico native who was one of the most popular singer-songwriters of the 1970s.
“The friend kept bugging us. He said, ‘You can cross-market his music into bluegrass.’ We thought about it and decided that now seemed like the right time for it,” Cahill said.
The new album, due out in March, is titled “Country Boy – A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver.”
Cahill said the band will likely play some selections from the upcoming CD at its Sunday, March 2 concert at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Cuts include “Rocky Mountain High,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”
The majority of the tunes on the album have vocals and the CD is packed with guest artists.
“We decided we needed a good instrumental number. So we chose ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy.’ Michael Cleveland and Buddy Spicher are playing fiddle on it,” Cahil said.
Among the other guest artists are singers Jim Lauderdale, Claire Lynch, Peter Rowan, and Rhonda Vincent, dobro player Rob Ickes, and banjo player Alison Brown.
Brown also is the co-owner of Compass Records, which is the album’s label.
The other members of The Special Consensus are guitarist-singer Dustin Benson, mandolin player-singer Rick Faris and bassist-singer Dan Eubanks.