December 12, 2008

From the small towns to the big cities, local bluegrass takes over the weekend

By Danielle Abbott

By definition, bluegrass music is defined as a particular kind of folk music that is characterized by rapid tempos and jazz-like improvisations. Included in the numerous definitions is a type of country music that is polyphonic in character and is played on unamplified string instruments. Still other definitions state that bluegrass music is a type of the folk genre and emphasizes the solo banjo. Another definition states that bluegrass can be recognized by its rapid tempos that incorporate voice, stringed instruments and improvisation by the musicians. No matter how you define it, bluegrass music is a part of North Dakota. Every year Washburn residents are given the gift of music when the band Special Consensus visits the Nature Conservancy outside of Washburn. This past August the band played in the outdoor amphitheater for a fun-filled crowd of music lovers. Special Consensus then returned to the North Dakota area in September to play with the Bismarck Mandan Symphony Orchestra. When asked how he was doing, band member Greg Cahill responded, "Cold," as he jokingly laughed from his Chicago residence. The other three band members are spread around Nashville and Alabama. "With how much we travel, it really doesn’t matter where we all live," Cahill said of the four-person group. So with their lives in Chicago, Nashville and Alabama, why would this group continue to return to North Dakota? "We really enjoy being up there, the people are all so friendly," Cahill said, "We have been going there for so many years that it really does feel like home to us."


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