Formed in the Chicago area in 1975, The Special Consensus is a four-person acoustic bluegrass band with a repertoire that features traditional bluegrass standards, original compositions by band members and professional songwriters, and songs from other musical genres performed in the bluegrass format. The band has released 18 recordings and has appeared on numerous National Public Radio programs and cable television shows, including The Nashville Network and the Grand Ole Opry at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. International tours have brought the band to Australia, Canada, Europe, South America, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Special C has appeared in concert with many symphony orchestras nationwide and has brought an informative in-school presentation to schools nationally and internationally since 1984. Band leader/banjo player Greg Cahill is the former President/Board Chair of the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), the former Board Chair of the Nashville-based Foundation for Bluegrass Music and a recipient of the prestigious IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award (in 2011). Other band members include guitar player Rick Faris, bass player Dan Eubanks and mandolin player Nick Dumas. The 2012 band release Scratch Gravel Road (Compass Records) was GRAMMY nominated for Best Bluegrass Album and two songs from the 2014 band release Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver (Compass Records) won IBMA awards for Recorded Event of the Year and Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year. The brand new Special C recording Long I Ride is available for download at www.compassrecords.com
and will be available in hard copy CD format on June 10, 2016.
GREG CAHILL plays banjo and
sings baritone and tenor harmony vocals.
Chicago born and bred, Greg has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. He co-founded The Special Consensus in Chicago in 1975 and has continued to tour nationally and internationally with the band ever since. In 1984, he created the Traditional American Music (TAM) Program to introduce students of all ages to bluegrass music. He has appeared on all 17 of The Special Consensus recordings, on numerous recordings by other artists and on many national television and radio commercial jingles. Greg has also released three recordings: “Lone Star” (1980, with guests Jethro Burns and Byron Berline); “Blue Skies” (1992, with Chicago mandolinist Don Stiernberg); and “Night Skies” (1998, with Don Stiernberg and guests Sam Bush, Glen Duncan and Tom Boyd). He has also recorded and toured European countries with the ChowDogs (Slavek Hanzlik, Dallas Wayne and Ollie O’Shea). Greg has released four banjo instructional DVDs and two banjo tablature books, and he teaches banjo at festival workshops and at music camps nationally and internationally. He is a banjo instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and has been an adjunct faculty member of the music department (teaching banjo) at Columbia College in Chicago. He served on the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board of Directors from 1998-2010 (Board Chair/President 2006-2010), became a Kentucky Colonel in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011. Greg was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Nashville-based Foundation for Bluegrass Music in 2007, elected President of the organization in 2011 and rotated off that board in 2012. The 2012 band recording “Scratch Gravel Road” was Grammy-nominated, and the 2014 band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards (both released by Compass Records).
RICK FARIS plays guitar and
sings lead, baritone, tenor and high baritone vocals.
Rick is known in the world of bluegrass music as an award-winning guitar player. Born in Illinois, raised in Arkansas and Missouri, Rick and his family moved to Kansas in 1991, and he started playing with the Faris Family Bluegrass Band in 1998. Although guitar was his first instrument (he began playing when he was 7 years old), Rick also plays dobro, banjo and mandolin. The Faris Family band toured extensively throughout the USA and Canada and was awarded Traditional Bluegrass Group of the Year, Instrumental Group of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Entertaining Group of the Year several times by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA). Rick was awarded the SPBGMA Midwest Guitar Performer of the Year in 2005 and 2008. He was one of the first teachers at the Americana Music Academy in Lawrence, Kansas (where he remained a teacher of guitar and dobro for five years). When not on the road, Rick spends his “spare time” as an excellent luthier, building guitars (there is a two-year waiting list). Rick became the Special Consensus mandolin player in 2009 and appeared on the 2010 band recording “35,” on the 2012 Grammy-nominated band recording “Scratch Gravel Road” and on the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” (all released by Compass Records). In 2015, Rick moved to the guitar player position, and he thoroughly enjoys playing the guitar he built for himself on stage and in the recording studio.
DAN EUBANKS plays bass and
sings lead, baritone and bass vocals.
Dan grew up in Crystal City and St. Louis, Missouri, and his grandparents began taking him to bluegrass festivals at a very young age in the 1970s. He began playing music on drums, then banjo and guitar, and eventually electric bass at age 12. Dan played in country and rock bands throughout high school and attended college on a music scholarship. His study of jazz bass playing eventually led him to the upright bass and a very diverse musical education that included study of nearly all styles of American music and procurement of a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Webster University in St. Louis. In 2003, after many years of teaching at several St. Louis-area colleges and universities as an adjunct professor, Dan’s desire to get back to his bluegrass and country roots prompted his move to Nashville. He has been teaching, performing with various bands and working as a studio session musician since his relocation, and he has appeared on the television show “Nashville” several times as a side musician in bands that support main characters. Dan joined Special Consensus in 2013 and appeared on the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” (released by Compass Records).
NICK DUMAS plays mandolin and
sings lead, baritone and tenor.