"A friend of mine asked me, "Are you sure you want Special Ed to play? Have you heard them?" Yes, I have. Multiple times. Special Ed and the Shortbus is a stringband that may seem a little hard to swallow for some. Much like the Fugs and Holy Modal Rounders before them, their shows are veritable litmus tests for a crowd's sense of humor. If you've ever answered yes to Frank Zappa's question "Does humor belong in music?" then The Shortbus is for you. They're straight-up nuts when they pick and sing, and if you can get past the lovely freakishness of their stage act, you'll find
some real talent backing up the zaniness."
- Haymaker Productions (www.haymaker.com)
"Special Ed (takes) on an aimlessly affable demeanor backed up by serious ability on their instruments. From standards such as "Sittin' on Top of the World" to odd covers like Madonna's "Material Girl" these guys show great command of the myriad of styles they attempt to incorporate . . . One gets the feeling that these guys could play anything, and play it with gusto."
- Front Porch Online Magazine, Fredericksburg, VA
The Story thus far:
Special Ed and the Shortbus is a bubbling fountain of virtuosic insanity. Seeing them play is like watching a high-speed train about to jump the tracks. Unstoppable energy matched with technical mastery, outlandish humor and fully engaging entertainment, the Shortbus is a sight to behold.
Jug band, Bluegrass, Old-Timey, String Band, Vaudevillian, call it what you will, it's just American music (except when it's Eastern European). Our primary objective is to play the music that we would like to hear. We currently make this music on two banjos, two guitars, a mandolin, a fiddle, a trap set, a doghouse bass, many kazoos, and a whole host of other toys.
Special Ed and the Shortbus have been playing music since the Spring of 2002. Based in Richmond, VA, we have traveled far and wide through VA, MD, NC, and WV; as well as up through NY and New England. As we've been playing, the music has moved in many directions as our individual characters have come together and morphed each other's playing. We have gained a reputation both near and far for our high energy and sometimes bizarre live acts.
In 2004 they released two albums simultaneously. "Special Ed and the Shortbus Bluegrass Band," is their more straight ahead endeavor, while "Downhill From Here," contains their more "blue" material.
Special Ed and the Shortbus are based out of Richmond, Virginia. They play frequently within the mid-Atlantic region and occasionally venture out for extended tours. Check out their website and sign up for their email list to find out when they'll be playing near you!