New 2018 “Rivers And Roads” Recording

Compass Records will release a brand new Special C recording titled “Rivers and Roads” on March 30, 2018. We are so honored to be part of the Compass Records roster and to once again have Alison Brown as our brilliant producer! Songs on the recording include:
Way Down The River Road (John Hartford), Hurting Sure (Mark Simos), She Took The Tennessee River (Becky Buller), Early (Greg Brown), Squirrel Hunters (Traditional instrumental that includes a verbal and fiddle intro by John Hartford and twin banjo by Alison Brown), Big River (Johnny Cash), Bought and Sold (John Brighton/Jesse Farrer/Ryan Murphey/Justin Wallace), Travelin’ Shoes (Traditional a cappella gospel), Connected By A Runway (Rick Faris) and Misty Morning (Doug Forshey/Chris Strait). We are also very fortunate to have special musical guests Bobby Osborne, Molly Tuttle, Becky Buller, 10 String Symphony, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, Josh Williams and Alison Brown join us on the recording. We hope our friends and fans will enjoy hearing this recording as much as we enjoyed making it!

Bluegrass Cruise

We are very excited to be going on another Danny Stewart bluegrass cruise! We had a fantastic time on the 2018 cruise and we thank Danny Stewart for inviting us to again sail on his California Bluegrass Cruise from Long Beach, CA to Baja, Mexico from February 18 to February 22, 2019. Please join us for this fantastic event – we will spend loads of time together playing and listening to great bluegrass music. Other bands with us on the cruise include Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Monroe Crossing and several more bands.
Here is how payments work (per person):
1.$150 deposit (refundable) goes on your credit card when you book
2. $200 bluegrass payment (US check to Danny Stewart ) by Oct 1, 2017
3.Balance to ship by Dec 15, 2017.
$150 Deposit per person will lock in the price and it is fully refundable until Dec 2018. Canceling later is not a bad thing – your deposit will hold the space and the rate for someone else.
Be sure to mention that you are registering as fans of Special Consensus.
Danny Stewart 570-721-2760

Great New Year

We were very happy to find a fantastic review of our new recording “Long I Ride” in the December 2016 issue of the renowned bluegrass periodical Bluegrass Unlimited and another great review by our good friend/banjo maestro Tom Adams in the January issue of Banjo Newsletter. Excerpts from the reviews are posted on the Reviews page. We were also very pleased to see that the song “Long I Ride” moved up to #8 on the National Bluegrass Survey in BU, that the “Long I Ride” album moved up to #8 on the Top 15 Bluegrass Albums chart in BU and that the song “Long I Ride” was included at #12 in the Bluegrass Today Top 30 bluegrass songs for 2016 list. What a fine way to begin the New Year!

We Won An IBMA Award For “Long I Ride” – 2016

We attended the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards Show in Raleigh, NC on Thursday, September 29, 2016. The Awards Show is part of the week-long IBMA “World of Bluegrass” annual gathering that also includes a weekday business conference and a weekend bluegrass festival. We were truly surprised (shocked is a better description) when the first award of the evening was announced and the winner for the Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award was Special Consensus! We are so honored to have won this award for the tune Fireball from our new Compass Records release “Long I Ride,” which included phenominal playing by our friends Rob Ickes, Trey Hensley and our producer Alison Brown. We sincerely thank all of our peers and IBMA Member fans for voting for us. This was our third IBMA award; we received two others in 2014 for selections from our “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” Compass Records release.

New Banjo Tablature Book

Hal Leonard Corporation has just released a banjo tablature book titled “First 50 Songs You Should Play On Banjo” featuring 25 clawhammer banjo arrangements by Michael Miles and 25 three-finger (bluegrass) style arrangements by Greg Cahill. The bluegrass arrangements include a variety that spans traditional tunes like “Old Joe Clark” and “Cripple Creek” to standards like “All of Me” and “Hey, Good Lookin’.” The book sells for $15 and is available at all Special C appearances and will soon be included on the Store page of this site.

Our New 2016 “Long I Ride” Recording

We are so pleased to announce the release of our new Long I Ride recording on the Compass Records label. The recording includes songs written by Special C alums Robbie Fulks (Long I Ride) and Justin Carbone (Time For Movin’ On); a song co-written with Special C alum Ryan Roberts (Life Stories); songs from our songwriter friends Larry Cordle (Highway 40 Blues), Tim Stafford and Craig Market (New Shennandoah), Joe Newberry (Baby I’m Blue), and Bob Amos (Where The Wild River Flows); a tune from Josh Graves with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (Fireball); a Stoney La Rue song (First One To Know) and an acapella gospel quartet (Jesus Is My Rock). The recording became even more “special” to us when our friends from Della Mae joined us on Highway 40 Blues, Matt Combs and Buddy Spicher played incredible twin fiddles on Baby I’m Blue and Summer McMahan sang beautifully on First One To Know. We had a really fun time recording the instrumental Fireball with Rob Ickes (dobro) and Trey Hensley (guitar) playing with us and our twin banjo solos (with Alison Brown and Greg using Keith tuners in harmony!) and twin mandolin solos (with Rick and Nick playing in harmony). This was an exciting project for us and we hope our friends and fans will enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed recording.

Nice article

Our old friend Eddie Collins wrote a very nice article about our 40th Anniversary concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music in October 2015 for Banjo Newsletter. Here is the link:

Fresno, CA

We had the privilege of playing some music for some of the youngsters at Valley Children’s Hospital while on tour in California last week. Here is a link:

New Band Member

We are excited about moving our mandolin player Rick Faris over to guitar – he is a superb player and this will give him the opportunity to play one of the excellent guitars he builds on stage with us – and we are bringing in a great player and singer named Nick Dumas from the Seattle, WA area. Nick has played in that region in bands with Chris Luquette (guitarist with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen) and Stephen Burwell (fiddler with Doyle Lawson). He will begin his tenure with the band in November.

40th Anniversary/Reunion concert

On October 24, Special C will celebrate the 40 year anniversary of forming in Chicago as a full-time touring and recording bluegrass band. We find it hard to believe that the band has been continually touring across the USA (performing in every state except Hawaii) since 1975 and also visits Canada, mainland Europe, Ireland and England on a regular basis. The band has also completed tours in Australia and South America. Special C could never have lasted so many years without the continued support and friendship of so many of you, our true friends and fans. You have lodged us, fed us, repaired our vehicles and offered financial support and we are forever grateful. The band legacy is well established only because of the fantastic musicians who have given their all throughout their time in the band – it has been and continues to be a wonderful journey thanks to the fine people who have contributed to the Special C experience.


Special C has had 41 actual members and many more excellent substitute players over the years. Because we only have a few hours for the concert, only current and former members who have recorded with the band will actually perform songs from the recordings on which they originally appeared. We hope that other band alums will attend as well to visit with everyone throughout the course of the evening and we will greatly miss seeing some of the alums who will be on the road performing with the bands they currently tour with and are thus unable to be part of this concert.


Current band members Greg Cahill, Rick Faris, Dustin Benson and Dan Eubanks will be joined by band co-founder Marc Edelstein, Robbie Fulks, Chris Jones, Don Stiernberg, Dallas Wayne, Ollie O’Shea, Tim Dishman, Ron Spears, Paul Kramer, Justin Carbone, Marty Marrone, Darren Wilcox, Drew Carson, Tim Wilson, Scotty Salak, Chris Walz, Keith Baumann, Ed Walsh, David Thomas and Dennis White for this show. Many of these great musicians are still actively performing and touring and we are very grateful they have taken time away from their busy schedules to come in to participate in this event.


We are truly excited about seeing many of the “Special C bluegrass family” on October 24!


Upcoming Events
all-day Raleigh, NC @ IBMA World of Bluegrass Business Conference
Raleigh, NC @ IBMA World of Bluegrass Business Conference
Sep 25 – Sep 30 all-day
The International Bluegrass Music Association hosts the annual World of Bluegrass event in downtown Raleigh, NC. The Business Conference includes many seminars, workshops, showcase performances and general networking and the weekend festival is a fundraiser[...]
all-day Normal, IL @ Old Tyme Heritage Bluegrass Festival
Normal, IL @ Old Tyme Heritage Bluegrass Festival
Oct 6 all-day
We thank Nathan Gates for initiating this festival since several IL festivals have gone away over the past several years. We hope all of the bluegrass community will embrace this new fest and we look[...]
9:00 pm Nashville, TN @ The Station Inn
Nashville, TN @ The Station Inn
Oct 13 @ 9:00 pm
We always have a great time at the “World Famous Station Inn”! One of our very favorite places to play – and one never knows who might drop in to sing a song or play[...]
8:00 pm Wadway, Netherlands @ Partycentrum 'De Vriendschap'
Wadway, Netherlands @ Partycentrum 'De Vriendschap'
Oct 17 @ 8:00 pm
Loek has been a good friend for many years and he always offers to have us play in Wadway whenever we are touring in Europe. It will be wonderful to see all of our friends[...]
7:30 pm Helmstedt, Germany @ Sankt-Christophorus-Kirche
Helmstedt, Germany @ Sankt-Christophorus-Kirche
Oct 18 @ 7:30 pm
We sincerely thank our good friend Wolfram for making it possible for us to schedule this return visit. We had a great time performing here in 2016 and it will be so good to see[...]
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