2019 GRAMMY Nominee
The Special Consensus is a bluegrass band that has achieved a contemporary sound in their four decades of performing, making their music a modern classic. Band leader and founder Greg Cahill is a recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Special Consensus has received five awards from the IBMA and two Grammy nominations.
Special Consensus’ sound is grounded in a deep appreciation and understanding of bluegrass music; the infectious band sound reminds people of the past while utilizing the innovations of today. With the foundation of Greg’s unique banjo playing style, Rick Faris (guitar), Nick Dumas (mandolin), and Dan Eubanks (bass) effortlessly support each other and consistently maintain their bluegrass center whether they’re playing a jazz-tinged instrumental or a song from their award-winning John Denver tribute album. These four talented vocalists and instrumentalists follow their creative desires without straying too far from their roots.
Rivers and Roads, the band’s 19th recording, was nominated for a 2019 Grammy, received five 2018 IBMA nominations and was awarded Album of the Year. The tune “Squirrel Hunters” from that recording received the Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year award.
Rivers and Roads captures the energy of a live Special C show. Just listen to Rick’s high, emotional singing, Nick’s fluid mandolin providing the formidable counter to Greg’s driving banjo and Dan holding everything together on the bass with his bluegrass, country, and jazz experience. Their voices blend seamlessly. International tours have brought the band to Canada, Europe, South America, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The band has also appeared on National Public Radio, The Nashville Network, the Grand Ole Opry at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, and in concert with symphony orchestras nationwide.
Dedicated to preserving their craft as well as keeping it fresh, in 1984 Special Consensus initiated the Traditional American Music (TAM) Program to introduce bluegrass music to students in schools across the country and in several foreign lands.
Special C’s continued success is a testament to their adaptability and contemporary appeal. The band records for Compass Records and proudly celebrates its 44th anniversary in 2019.
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 19 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 (Greg and Slavek Hanzlik, Dallas Wayne and Ollie O’Shea). Greg has released four banjo instructional DVDs and three banjo tablature books and he teaches banjo at festival workshops and 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 Compass Records band recording “Scratch Gravel Road” was GRAMMY-nominated for Best Bluegrass Album; the 2014 Compass Records band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards; the 2016 Compass Records band recording “Long I Ride” received an IBMA award and the 2018 Compass Records recording “Rivers And Roads” received two IBMA awards (one for Album of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.
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 (playing the guitar he built for himself) and he made his recording debut as the Special C guitar player on the 2016 Compass Records band recording “Long I Ride,” which also received an IBMA award. The 2018 Compass Records band recording “Rivers And Roads” received two IBMA awards (one for Album of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. Rick’s first solo recording “Breaking In Lonesome” is scheduled for release on the Dark Shadow Recording label in mid-2019.
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 made his first band recording appearance on the 2014 Compass Records band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” that received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards. He also appeared on the 2016 Compass Records band recording “Long I Ride,” which also received an IBMA award, and on the 2018 Compass Records band recording “Rivers And Roads” that received two IBMA awards (one for Album of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. Dan released a solo recording titled “Look What The City’s Done” in March 2019.
Nick grew up in Brier, Washington, and was introduced to bluegrass music at a very young age by his dobro-playing grandfather. He often listened to his grandfather’s country gospel band rehearse and was so inspired by the fiddle player that he started learning to play the violin in his school orchestra class when he was 12 years old. Nick soon began taking private fiddle lessons and then joined the family band The Three Generations, formed by his grandfather, his mother and his aunt. After learning to play mandolin, guitar and banjo and to sing lead and harmony vocals, Nick became a co-founder of the popular Northwest-based bluegrass band Northern Departure. He soon became known as a highly respected mandolin player and singer in the region and co-founded another very popular bluegrass band called North Country Bluegrass, touring both regionally and nationally. In 2015, Nick was very pleased to relocate to become the new Special Consensus mandolin player. He made his Special C recording debut on the 2016 Compass Records band release “Long I Ride,” which received the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award for the tune “Fireball.” Nick also appeared on the 2018 Compass Records band release “Rivers And Roads” that won two IBMA awards (one for Album of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.