#003 Special Consensus - Greg Cahill, Rick Faris, Nick Dumas and Dan Eubanks by Chuck and Sandi Millar - Lesson Pros

#003 Special Consensus - Greg Cahill, Rick Faris, Nick Dumas and Dan Eubanks by Chuck and Sandi Millar - Lesson Pros

We met Special Consensus in Schaumburg, IL., at the Schaumburg Bluegrass Festival, I think, in the early 2000s. Since then, we've shared the stage, partied together, and become pretty good friends with the Special Consensus boys. We were at the same bluegrass festivals for, I have to say, five festivals in a row, so it was really fun getting to know these crazy kooks. It's certainly been a pleasure to get to know all of the guys.

Current Members

Current members are Greg Cahill (banjo), Rick Faris (guitar), Dan Eubanks (bass), and the new guy is Nick Dumas (mandolin). While we love each of the Special C boys, Chuck and I miss former bandmate Dustin Benson, who used to play guitar while Rick played mandolin. Dustin, who we were fortunate enough to play on our album when we traveled to Nashville to record with Randy Kohrs at Slack Key Studios.

We spent many nights parting with Dustin, and he helped create some amazing memories and some of our favorite music highlights. Although Dustin provided us with some amazing Special C moments, they've hit new paydirt with the addition of Nick Dumas, who's also a great singer.

Festival Moment

The last time we got together with the guys, a day we will never forget, we got a little private Nick and Rick jam in our camper; it was a magical moment of the guys doing the songs they wrote and had personal meaning to them. We called that a festival moment.

We got to interview Rick Faris, a guitar player from Special Consensus.

Rick Faris Interview

More information on Special Consensus

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.

President / Board Member Greg Cahill

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 guitarist Rick Faris, bassist Dan Eubanks, and mandolinist Nick Dumas. The band's release, Scratch Gravel Road (Compass Records), was GRAMMY nominated for Best Bluegrass Album, and two songs from a later 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 tune “Fireball” (featuring special guests Rob Ickes, Trey Hensley, and Alison Brown) on the 2016 Compass Records band recording Long I Ride won the IBMA Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award.

Booking Contact

Above The Bay Booking
Maria E. Nadauld

Band Contact

Greg Cahill
Special Consensus Website

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Special Consensus Bio

THE SPECIAL CONSENSUS is a four-person acoustic bluegrass band that began performing in the Midwest in the spring of 1975.

The first band album was released in 1979 when the band began touring on a national basis. In 1984, The Special Consensus initiated the Traditional American Music (TAM) Program in schools across the country and began appearing on cable television and National Public Radio shows.

The band has since appeared on The Nashville Network “Fire On The Mountain” show, toured for three seasons as 4/5 of the cast in the musical Cotton Patch Gospel (music and lyrics by Harry Chapin), and released seventeen additional recordings. In 2000, Pinecastle Records released the first band performance video, filmed for Iowa Public Television’s “Old Time Country Music” show, and The Special Consensus 25th Anniversary recording to mark this milestone year for the band.

The band has been featured in cover stories of the renowned bluegrass publication Bluegrass Unlimited in 1998, 2005, 2010, and 2015. In November 2003, The Special Consensus received a standing ovation after the first band performance on the Grand Ole Opry at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.

International tours have brought The Special Consensus to the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, Ireland, South America, and Australia. In 1993, the band performed the first of many concerts with a symphony orchestra, complete with orchestral arrangements of songs from the band's repertoire.

The fifteenth band recording, “35,” was released in 2010 by Compass Records in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the formation of the band as a professional touring and recording entity.

The sixteenth band recording, “Scratch Gravel Road,” was released by Compass Records in March 2012 and was nominated for the Best Bluegrass Album GRAMMY Award. Compass Records released the seventeenth band recording, “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver,” in March 2014. Two songs on this recording received IBMA awards in 2014: “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” received the Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award, and “Wild Montana Skies” received the Recorded Event of the Year Award. In March 2016, Compass Records released the eighteenth Special C recording, “Long I Ride,” and the tune “Fireball” (with guests Rob Ickes, Trey Hensley, and Alison Brown) received the 2016 IBMA Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award.

The Special Consensus Greg Cahill

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 Compass Records band recording “Scratch Gravel Road” was Grammy-nominated, the 2014 Compass Records band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, and the 2016 Compass Records band recording “Long I Ride” also received an IBMA award.

Rick Faris Special Consensus

RICK FARIS plays guitar and sings lead, baritone, tenor and high baritone vocals.

Rick is an award-winning guitar player in the world of bluegrass music. Born in Illinois and 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 the guitar was his first instrument (he began playing when he was seven 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.

DAN EUBANKS Special Consensus

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.

Since his relocation, Dan has been teaching, performing with various bands, and working as a studio session musician. He has also appeared on the television show Nashville several times as a side musician in bands that support the main characters.

Dan joined Special Consensus in 2013 and appeared on the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning Compass Records band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” and on the 2016 Compass Records band recording “Long I Ride,” which also received an IBMA award.

Special Consensus Nick Dumas Bluegrass Mandolin

NICK DUMAS plays mandolin and sings lead, baritone, and tenor.

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 Tennessee 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.”

Source: Special Consensus Website

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