The HillBenders present The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry

Unique show features a bluegrass version of the classic rock opera Tommy

DURANGO, Colo. – The HillBenders present The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, on stage at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, Thursday, April 13, 2017. Local bluegrass band La La Bones will open the show at 7:30 p.m. The dance floor will be open.

More than 45 years after its original release, The Who’s Tommy, the classic of classic rock, is now realized as a full-length bluegrass tribute featuring 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 honoring its creators.

Originally composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera, Tommy tells the story of a “deaf, dumb and blind boy.” With the mix of virtuoso musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders presents Townshend’s original version in a new and exciting way with banjo, dobro, mandolin, bass and guitar, bringing the same energy and vision to Tommy as The Who did with a full rock band and orchestra.

The live performance is a 75-minute show covering the original album from start to finish, with audience participation.

Wrote the Lonesome Road Review, “The HillBenders’ re-telling of The Who’s Tommy, the first great rock opera, shows that bluegrass music is not only capable of doing this sort of thing, but that it is uniquely suited for it.”

The HillBenders are considered one of the hottest bluegrass bands on today’s circuit. The string quartet features rich harmonies, intricate arrangements and skilled instrumentation, as well as energetic, infectious and radiant performances. Originally from Springfield, Missouri, The HillBenders are Nolan Lawrence (mandolin/vocals), Jimmy Rea (guitar/vocals), Gary Rea (bass/vocals), Mark Cassidy (banjo/vocals) and Chad “Gravy Boat” Graves (dobro/vocals).

View The HillBenders performing “Pinball Wizard” in its entirety at .

Special guest La La Bones is a five-piece bluegrass band that draws inspiration from the wild landscape and western history of southwestern Colorado. Rooted in Durango with a vocal arsenal shared by two women and three men, La La Bones is said to deliver a diverse, original, and dynamic bluegrass sound. The ensemble features Tommy Frederico (banjo), Jimi Giles (bass), Kathy Hilimire (fiddle), Scott Roberts (mandolin), and Kyle Siesser (guitar).

Videos and music from La La Bones are featured at

Tickets for The HillBenders present The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, with special guest La La Bones ($24/$34) are available on-line at or call 970.247.7657, or visit the Ticket Office inside the Durango Welcome Center at 8th St. and Main Ave., Downtown Durango. All sales final.

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season in 2017, the Community Concert Hall is a not-for-profit, multi-use performance venue located on the campus of Fort Lewis College. Its ability to bring a diverse spectrum of shows to Southwest Colorado is made possible through a partnership with the college, a state-supported, independent institution of higher education, and through financial and in-kind contributions from generous members of the community.

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