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The HillBenders to Present "The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry" at BlackRock

January 23, 2017

The progressive bluegrass band The HillBenders will bring their unique take on the iconic Tommy album from British rock band The Who to Germantown on February 4.

   “The Who’s Tommy: A Blugrass Opry” presents a classic rock experience from iconic The Who through the strings and vocals of bluegrass. The show comes to the Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown on Saturday, Feb. 4.

   Rolling Stone Magazine named The HillBenders, “one of the 50 Best Things We Saw at SXSW 2015.” And of the ‘rock opry,’ “You haven't heard ‘Acid Queen’ until you've seen it sung by a bearded man with a mandolin.”

   45 years after its original release, this classic of classic rock is now fully realized as a full length bluegrass tribute featuring Springfield, Mo. The HillBenders. Conceived and produced by SXSW co-founder and longtime musician/producer Louis Jay Meyers, this Bluegrass Opry brings a new perspective to Tommy while paying total respect to its creators.

 

   The HillBenders' 'Tommy' has been endorsed by original Tommy creators Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who.  Townshend invited them to a Who performance of Tommy at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena and met with the band after the show, while Daltrey asked the band to perform 'Tommy' in its entirety at his Teen Cancer America Presents North Carolina Cares Charity Event in Raleigh, NC.

   The 1969 classic was originally composed by guitarist Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant value".

   Meyers had been looking for the right band to pull off this high wire bluegrass approach for several decades and The HillBenders are the right band. With a perfect mix of virtuoso musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders bring Pete Townshend’s original vision to life in a new and exciting way.

   The HillBenders are one of the few bluegrass groups that recognize their ability to bridge the gap between the common music consumer and the bluegrass genre, selecting material that defies any hillbilly stigmas. With their widely varied influences, they are trying to bring to bluegrass songs that unify. “We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other music we grew up with —rock and roll!” says HillBender Nolan Lawrence.

   The HillBenders' studio album of “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” debuted at #3 on Billboard's Bluegrass Chart. In 2016, the band completed a UK tour where they presented the show to its home audience at some of the most prestigious music festivals and venues in Europe. 

   “The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” starts at 8:00 pm on Saturday, Feb. 4. Black Rock Center for the Arts is located at 12901 Town Commons Drive in Germantown. Tickets range from $27 to $35 and may be bought online at www.blackrockcenter.org. For more information about the show, call 301.528.2260. For more about the HillBenders, visit www.hillbenders.com and www.whograss.com

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