The Special Consensus

Years at Winfield: 

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 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 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.


Greg Cahill 
banjo, baritone and tenor harmony vocals

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 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 and was elected President of the organization in 2011.