Listening to the Hillbenders, you’ll see the music

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, May 8, 2015
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The Hillbenders

The Hillbenders

Who could have predicted that the best-received album by the Hillbenders would not only be one that they have not yet released but also their most reaching in concept: a bluegrass take on “Tommy” by the Who?

“Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” is not really all that far-fetched. Bluegrass is flexible, and the Hillbenders are known for flexing. The band has a “Tommy” fanatic (Jim Rea) who discovered the work when he was a kid. “Tommy” is an opera, and the Hillbenders have a classically educated vocalist (Nolan Lawrence).

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