After nearly a year in the making the Springfield, MO based bluegrass sensations, The HillBenders, are releasing their debut album “ Down To My Last Dollar” on April 16 th. Produced By Jeremy Chapman and featuring Jeremy Garrett from the Infamous Stringdusters on fiddle, this highly anticipated release is the first full length effort from the group. With 11 of the 13 tracks on the album being original compositions, The HillBenders are giving listeners a truly unique experience far from the typical bluegrass fare. Rooted in the traditions of bluegrass, the HillBenders push the boundaries of the genre by combining influences from country, rock, blues, jazz and americana into their sound to produce something entirely new. Some say it's newgrass, some say it's bluegrass, some say it's neither, but everyone says whatever it is, it's incredible! “Down To My Last Dollar” showcases some of the best The HillBenders have to offer, delivered with unwavering energy and rich, full acoustic instrumentation, and vocal arrangements on par with the best in the industry.
As one of hottest new acoustic bands in the genre today, The HillBenders are making waves. Much like the oncoming heat of summer, this young band is quickly rising above many of their peers and achieving accomplishments that veteran groups strive for. Claiming the championship title at last year’s Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition in Colorado helped put The HillBenders on the map, so to speak. Being recognized by a group as prestigious as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is no small feat, and firmly reassured The HillBenders that they are on the right path. One look at their 2010 tour schedule reaffirms the fact that the HillBenders have become a force in their genre with coast to coast appearances at some of the country's premiere music events such as the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, the Walnut Valley Festival, Mullberry Mountain Harvest Festival, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Silver Dollar City's Bluegrass and Bar-B-Q festival and many more.
The HillBenders came together in late March '08 when Nolan Lawrence, who was residing in Austin Tx. at the time, was invited to collaborate with the yet unnamed HillBenders: Mark Cassidy, Jim Rea and Gary Rea. After meeting each other and working together for a short time the group realized that they had something special, and the HillBenders were born. About a year after the HillBenders were formed they received a phone call from their old friend and former band member Chad Graves. A couple of years earlier Chad had left the previous incarnation of the band and moved to Nashville, TN where he secured a position touring throughout the U.S. and Europe playing dobro with Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike. The Music City proved to be less satisfying for Chad than he expected and after some time he returned to his home in Polk County, MO. Upon his return he contacted the HillBenders about playing together again for the first time, and the current form of the band was solidified.
Mark Cassidy - Banjo
Gary Rea - Bass
Jim Rea - Guitar
Nolan Lawrence - Mandolin
Chad "Gravy Boat" Graves - Dobro
2010 – “Down To My Last Dollar” Produced by Jeremy Chapman and featuring Jeremy Garrett of the Infamous Stringdusters on fiddle.