The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry with The HillBenders at the Matthews Opera House


The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry with The HillBenders at Matthews Opera House

The Who’s Tommy: A Blugrass Opry presents a classic rock experience from iconic British rock band The Who through the strings and vocals of progressive bluegrass band, The HillBenders. The show happens on Saturday, January 21st at Matthews Opera House & Center for the Arts in Spearfish, SD.

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 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.

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. 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.

The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry starts at 7:30 pm on Saturday, January 21st.   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 Matthews Opera House is located at 612 Main St. in Spearfish. For more information about The HillBenders, visit and

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