An Inside Look At Bluegrass Version Of The Who's 'Tommy'

By  Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 4:32pm
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 6:20pm


The HillBenders on stage.
(Photo courtesy of The HillBenders)

The Who’s rock opera "Tommy" was released nearly 50 years ago. There was a film version, and it even made it to Broadway.

And, recently, the bluegrass band The HillBenders started performing their own unique version.

The biggest single from "Tommy" was “Pinball Wizard.” Listen to the HillBenders’ take above.

The HillBenders have a guitarist, a bassist, a banjo player and performers on the mandolin and dobro. The idea for a bluegrass version of "Tommy" was brought to the band by its late manager Louis J. Meyers — one of the founders of South by Southwest.

Here to talk about the bluegrass version of "Tommy," which the HillBenders will play on Saturday at the Higley Performing Arts Center in Gilbert, is guitarist Jim Rea.

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