The Special Consensus
The Special Consensus • 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 fourteen additional recordings. The Northern Indiana Bluegrass Association sponsored a video production of the TAM Program and copies were sent to schools around the world by the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).
In 2000, Pinecastle Records released the first Special Consensus 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 and 2010 and several of the band recordings have received Highlight Reviews and appeared on the National Bluegrass Survey chart in that publication. 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 and South America. In 1993, the band performed the first of many concerts with a symphony orchestra, complete with orchestral arrangements of songs from the band 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 Special Consensus is included on the touring rosters of the Illinois Arts Council (Artstour) and continues to participate in the Arts Midwest Performing Arts Touring Program.
MEET THE BAND
Rick is known in the world of bluegrass music as an award-winning guitar player. Born in Iowa, 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 year waiting list for his guitars), dobros and mandolins. Rick joined The Special Consensus in 2009 and appeared on the 2010 band recording "35."
David was born and raised in Limestone County, Alabama and he moved to Nashville in 2008. His interest in music was sparked by listening to the country band of his uncle and great uncles in the 1980s. David began playing the guitar at the age of twelve and his grandfather began taking him to bluegrass music concerts when he was in his early teens. He began playing the mandolin at the age of seventeen and the bass at nineteen. David played guitar, mandolin and bass in regional Alabama-based bands throughout his teenage years and he co-founded a bluegrass band called Roanoke (playing mandolin) in 2003. That band competed in and won many bluegrass band contests throughout the southern states until David joined The Special Consensus in 2006. He has appeared on three of the band recordings (including the 2010 release "35") and on the 2011 instructional DVD release Bluegrass Jamming Essentials with Adam Steffey, Tim Stafford, Megan Lynch and Bill Evans.
Chicago born and bred, he has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. Greg co-founded The Special Consensus in Chicago in 1975 and has continued to tour nationally and internationally with the band since the late 1970s. In 1984, he created the Traditional American Music (TAM) Program to introduce students of all ages to bluegrass music. He has appeared on all 15 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). In addition to conducting workshops at festivals, teaching at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and teaching banjo at music camps nationally and internationally, Greg has released four banjo instructional DVDs. He served on the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board of Directors from 1998-2010 (Board Chair/President 2006-2010) and was elected President of the Nashville-based Foundation for Bluegrass Music in 2011.
He was raised in Jasper, Alabama, where he "grew up" on bluegrass music. His father taught him to play the guitar when he was 12 years old; he began playing the mandolin when he was 16 and joined his father’s band as the mandolin player when he was 17. Dustin moved to Nashville in 2002 and has played and toured with many of the more renowned bands in the world of bluegrass music, including Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, the Alecia Nugent Band, the Larry Stephenson Band (for over four years), Bradley Walker, and most recently Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road (playing guitar and bass). He was nominated for Guitar Player of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) in 2010 and he endorses Mike Long guitars. Dustin joined The Special Consensus in 2011.
The Special Consensus • Please Don’t Wait For Me, Darling
The Special Consensus • The Cherokee Shuffle
The Special Consensus • What Will Become of Me?
The Special Consensus • I Cried Myself Awake
The Special Consensus • Blue Night (finale from 35th Anniversary Concert featuring special guests)
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