The Hillbenders- Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry review   Leave a comment

untitledI’ve been entertaining myself (and few others) for years imagining Pete Townshend using his last bits of credibility in bringing Tommy to the bluegrass world.

Others beat him to it, namely The Hillbenders.

The second or third cassette I purchased back in grade 8 was Who Are You. I subscribed to The Who’s fanzine, posters of the band and their albums covered my walls, and I took advantage of every offer of ‘swopping’ live tapes that I came across. I analyzed the lyrics in high school English class, and created the world’s worst collage- shaped as Townshend’s head- in art class. Hell, I wrote Townshend letters…and he even wrote back! I spent so much time searching out the band’s old 45s on my honeymoon while in Montreal and Toronto, I almost didn’t make it through the vacation.

While I was a huge fan of The Who- still am, although with less verve than I once contained- all through high school, university, and well into adulthood, I always joked that bluegrass would self-destruct the day Tommy went bluegrass.

It hasn’t. In fact, it makes quite a swell album.

How serious should we take it? Likely not as seriously as we took Tommy in the first place. It is a reminder though, that maybe we shouldn’t have placed such gravity on the story of a pinball messiah in the first place.

My review has been published over at Country Standard Time.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald


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