“Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver ball…”

Not your standard bluegrass lyric, but it’s a line known by all the world from the biggest rock opera of all time, The Who’s,  “Tommy.” “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” will be performed at The Matthews, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 21. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for adult subscribers, and $10 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews Art Gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at matthewsopera.com

Show Details:
Jan. 21, 2017
Saturday: 7:30 p.m.
$25 for Adults
$20 for Subscribers
$10 for Youth and BHSU students

About the show


In Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, The HillBenders take on music from The Who’s Tommy and make it bluegrass. Conceived and produced by SXSW co-founder and longtime musician/producer Louis Jay Meyers, this Bluegrass Opry brings a new perspective to this classic rock music while paying respect to its creators.

Meyers had been looking for the right band to pull off this bluegrass approach for several decades. Once he found The HillBenders, he knew they were the right band for the job. With their virtuoso musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders bring an exciting approach to the original music.

Where the original music came from  

The Who’s Tommy is a rock opera based on the 1969 album Tommy from British rock band, The Who. The opera, originally composed by The Who’s own Pete Townshend, 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 over 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic, and significant value.” Rolling Stone magazine ranked Tommy #96 on its list of top 500 greatest albums of all time.

Who are The HillBenders?

As natives of Springfield, Missouri, The HillBenders are a dynamic bluegrass quintet that plays high energy shows that rally up their audiences. Though being a bluegrass band, they hesitate at the genre distinction. “We have one foot in bluegrass all the time while the other is reaching out and exploring our interests in rock and roll, jazz, funk, and Americana,” says The HillBenders’ dobro guitar player Chad “Gravy Boat” Graves.

As a band that likes to bridge the gap between bluegrass and other genres of music, The HillBenders were thrilled for this opportunity to perform a show dedicated to music from The Who’s Tommy.

“We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other music we grew up with–rock and roll!” says The HillBenders’ mandolin player and vocalist Nolan Lawrence.

Members of The HillBenders include:

Mark Cassidy – Banjo
Gary Rea – Bass
Jim Rea – Guitar
Nolan Lawrence – Mandolin/Vocals
Chad “Gravy Boat” Graves – Dobro

Warm up in the chilly January weather and join us for this live concert!