Tom Murphy - Mandolin
Tom Murphy picked up the guitar at age 11 in St. Louis, Missouri, and didn't put it down until he received a mandolin for high school graduation. Shortly thereafter, he heard the David Grisman Quintet's first album, and the mandolin quickly took center stage in his life. His inventive mandolin solos, driving rhythm, and tight harmony vocals add color to a variety of bands in his hometown of Bozeman, Montana. You’ll find Tom at the center of any pickin’ circle around here…bringing it all together.
John Lowell - Guitar
John has played in nationally recognized bands, has traveled in Europe and all around North America performing and teaching guitar at music camps. He’s received widespread critical acclaim for his singing, songwriting and guitar playing both with Kane's River and Growling Old Men. Most of all he hopes that you'll soon have the pleasure of sharing this music with us in person.
Greg Cahill ( Special Consensus) - Banjo
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. 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.
DUSTIN BENSON - GUITAR
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.
Rick is actually 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 THOMAS -BASS
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 Steffe, Tim Stafford, Megan Lynch and Bill Evans.
PETE KARTSOUNES - SONGWRITING
Bringing people together with soulful, original music while sharing amazing times is what Pete Kartsounes (kart-sue-nes) Music is all about. Armed with an acoustic guitar, blazing skill, powerful voice, and relentless heart, Pete inspires and entertains on a quest to make a difference in people’s lives. Pete Kartsounes Music continues to stretch boundaries and bend genres to create tasteful blends of original melodies and lyrics, captivating audiences and fostering good times around the globe. We invite you to join us on this exciting journey, letting the music and our hearts guide the way to enjoying today and making a better tomorrow.