The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry at Overture
The HillBenders cover the original Who album through the strings and vocals of progressive bluegrass
Madison, Wis. – Tickets are available now for The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opryin Capitol Theater on Thursday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m., presented by The HillBenders as part of Overture Center’s Bell Laboratories Music Series. A video of the show’s signature song, Pinball Wizard, can be seen here.
The HillBenders’ ‘Tommy’ has been endorsed by original Tommy creators Roger Daltrey & 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.
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, Missouri’s 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 1969 classic was originally composed by guitarist Pete 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 unique among bluegrass groups in that they 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. The band has just returned from a UK tour where they presented the show to its home audience at some of the most prestigious music festivals and venues in Europe.
Tickets start at $25 and are available in person at the Overture Center Ticket Office (201 State Street), online at overture.org or by phone at 608.258.4141.
For $15, attendees can come early (6 p.m. on Thursday, November 10) for Overture’s Get Social program to expand upon their experience and receive a discounted performance ticket. A Get Social ticket includes “speed pinball networking”, a mini vintage pinball arcade with Madison Pinball, appetizers, themed-drinks and more. Overture’s Get Social is presented by Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. The HillBenders Young Professional edition is hosted in partnership with Madison Magnet and YNPN Madison.
OVERTURE CENTER FOR THE ARTS in Madison, Wisconsin features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies, and hundreds of local artists engage people in over half a million educational and artistic experiences each year. Overture.org