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The late John Denver never really played bluegrass music, but he wasn’t shy about using the fiddle and other bluegrass instruments on songs such as “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” and others. And, over the last four decades, many of Denver’s compositions have lent themselves nicely to a bluegrass arrangement. There have been a ton of bluegrass bands that have performed their own take on “Take Me Home, Country Roads” over the years, and if you search on YouTube, you’ll see a wonderful video of the song by the Osborne Brothers back in the day.
On Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver, Greg Cahill and his band Special Consensus have recorded the singer’s tunes with an array of all-star guest musicians. Produced by Alison Brown, the album features Cahill and bandmates Dustin Benson, Rick Faris, and Dan Eubanks joined by Dale Ann Bradley, Jason Carter, Michael Cleveland, Rob Ickes, John Cowan, Jim Lauderdale, Rhonda Vincent, Buddy Spicher, Peter Rowan, and Claire Lynch.
Some highlights include Spicher and Cleveland twin-fiddling on “Thank God I’m A Country Boy,” Lauderdale singing a beautiful “Poems, Prayers And Promises,” and a sweet version of “This Old Guitar” featuring just the members of Special Consensus. And, it’s hard to go wrong with “Take Me Home, Country Roads” sung by both John Cowan and Benson with Carter’s fiddle underneath. (Special Consensus, 9701 S. 51st Ave., Oak Lawn, IL 60453, www.specialc.com.)DH