The HillBenders Sure Play A Mean Pinball: A Bluegrass Opry

Tommy: A Bluegrass OpryThis week on The Music Room, we chatted with Nolan Lawrence, member of  The HillBenders, about their current Bluegrass Opry worldwide tour of The Who’s Tommy. The HillBenders, along with music producer Louis Jay Meyers, created the Bluegrass Opry as a tribute to The Who’s original composition to the rock opera. Meyers, wanting to create the Opry for several years, chose to work with The HillBenders due their success in bridging the gap between the general public and bluegrass listeners.

The HillBenders identify as a bluegrass group with acoustic rock tones. By combining sounds from their California and Missouri backgrounds, the group brings a new perspective to The Who’s original work. The HillBenders have been on tour for the Bluegrass Opry for the last 18 months, and will be playing at Baby Grand in downtown Wilmington on Sunday, March 26 at 7pm.

The Interview

Nolan Lawrence of The HillBenders hosted by Mandorichard. Recorded live on March 21, 2017.
40.5 MB

About Our Guest

The HillBenders are a bluegrass rock band that have played together for the last nine years. The group consists of five members: Nolan Lawrence (Mandolin), Gary Rea (Bass),  Jim Rea (Guitar), Mark Cassidy (Banjo), and Chad ‘Gravyboat’ Graves (Dobro). The HillBenders have recorded three albums with Compass Records: Down To My Last Dollar (2010), Can You Hear Me? (2012), and Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry (2015). Currently, the group tours worldwide, performing hits from Tommy as well as their original music.

The Music

Artist Song Album Year
The HillBenders Radio Can You Hear Me? 2012
The HillBenders Pinball Wizard Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry 2015

Learn More

Mandorichard: Producer, host, recording engineer, audio editor
Sam O’Donnell: Web page author and editor

Lake Street Dive: Soul, Spunk, & Side Ponies

Lake Street Dive“Be yourself, do your thing . . . rock your side pony,” says Bridget Kearney, bassist of ’60s soul and pop rock revivalists Lake Street Dive, of the band’s 2016 release Side Pony. Side Pony, the band’s Nonesuch Record label debut, radiates playfulness and energy through its upbeat and glimmering soul-soaked tracks. Lake Street Dive expertly balances the retro with the contemporary on Side Pony by restoring and revitalizing ’60s Motown for a modern audience. On May 19, Liz Webb spoke with Bridget before the band’s stop at the World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington on their Side Pony tour.

While attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Rachael Price (vocals), Mike “McDuck” Olsen (trumpet, guitar), Bridget Kearney (upright bass), and Mike Calabrese (drums) formed Lake Street Dive in 2004, naming the band after a street housing multiple dive bars in Olsen’s hometown of Minneapolis. The band recorded their first CD in 2006, titled in this episode…. Ten years later, their fifth studio album Side Pony would reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums, Folk Albums, and Alternative Albums charts.

SinLake Street Dive 3ce gaining widespread recognition after performing a stripped-down cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” on a sidewalk in Boston (which currently has over 4 million views on YouTube), Lake Street Dive has made appearances on shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Today Show as well as NPR Music’s Tiny Desk series. This fall, the group is set to continue their tour on the East Coast, with notable stops at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer and New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

While in The Music Room, Bridget spoke to Liz about the band’s songwriting process, her personal inspirations, and her experimentation with rhythm and sound on Side Pony. A skilled and innovative musician, Bridget contributes to the band’s unique sound with her intricate compositions and upright bass-playing. Listen to the interview below to hear tracks from Lake Street Dive’s newest album Side Pony and to learn more about the exceptionally talented Bridget Kearney.

The Interview

Bridget Kearney, Host: Liz Webb, Recorded May 19, 2016, originally aired May 24, 2016.
22.3 MB

The Music

Artist Song Album Year
Due to copyright restrictions, the podcast contains excerpts of the music heard during the broadcast of the interview.
Lake Street Dive Side Pony Side Pony 2016
Lake Street Dive Call Off Your Dogs Side Pony 2016
Lake Street Dive Can’t Stop Side Pony 2016
Lake Street Dive Godawful Things Side Pony 2016
Lake Street Dive Hell Yeah Side Pony 2016
Lake Street Dive Saving All My Sinning Side Pony 2016


An E-52 Theatrical Presentation: Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

PictureBBAJThis weekend, E-52, a UD student theatre group, will be putting on their version of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, a punk-rock musical that chronicles the life of Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president. The musical moves in a different direction than the history books in that Jackson’s controversial image is redefined in a modern light; the historical events that the show focuses on are populism, the Indian Removal Act (an act that contributed to Jackson being a controversial figure) and the relationship between Jackson and his wife Rachel. The musical was written by Alex Timbers with lyrics by Michael Friedman.

Don’t miss out on the performance! Check out the E-52 website to learn more about the show and the group.

Listen to the Interview

Cast members from E-52’s Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Recorded live April 19th, 2016, Hosts Liz Webb and Mandorichard
21 MB

The Music

Note: To comply with US copyright law, excerpts from all the tracks listed below are in the podcast linked above. The full tracks were heard in the live radio broadcast.

Artist Song Album Date
The Broadway Cast of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson Populism, Yea Yea Original Cast Recording 2010
The Broadway Cast of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson I’m Not That Guy Original Cast Recording 2010
The Broadway Cast of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson I’m So That Guy Original Cast Recording 2010
The Broadway Cast of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson Public Life Original Cast Recording 2010

Learn More

To learn more about the musical, check out the links below!