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The HillBenders bring The Who's Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry to the UK

Hillbenders 2016

That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean....banjo. The HillBenders out of Springfield, Missouri will be visiting the UK to perform Tommy - A Bluegrass Opry a full-length version of the classic rock opera by The Who. Dates include a London show at the Union Chapel. The show has been a hit in the USA with positive reviews in the likes of Rolling Stone.


15 Bristol Americana Weekend

17 Larmer Tree Festival

19 Manchester Ruby Lounge

20 Milton Keynes International Festival

21 London Union Chapel (

22 Sheffield Greystones

23 Gateshead, The Sage SummerTyne Festival

Original creator of TOMMY, The Who’s Pete Townshend  apparently loves the HillBenders’ unique version and chatted to them about it when he invited them to see The Who live in concert in Nashville last year - the day after their own sold out performance in the city. (Full story: And on April 28 the band played Roger Daltrey’s Teen Cancer America presents North Carolina Cares charity event in Raleigh, NC.

“Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver ball”. Maybe not your standard bluegrass lyric, but a line known by all the world from the biggest rock opera of all time, The Who’s TOMMY. 
Now, 45 years after its original release, this classic of classic rock has been fully realised as a 75 minute bluegrass show covering the original album from start to finish. With a perfect mix of virtuoso musicianship and rock star vocals, Pete Townshend’s original vision is brought to life in a new and exciting way. 

We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other music we grew up with —rock and roll!
— The HillBenders - Nolan Lawrence

The HillBenders are: Mark Cassidy (banjo), Gary Rea (bass), Jim Rea (guitar), Nolan Lawrence (mandolin) and Chad ‘Gravy Boat’ Graves (dobro). Their album Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry is out now on Compass Records via Proper.