Number 1 in Folk Music are Dominican Friars???
Hillbilly Thomists – New Album - https://www.hillbillythomists.com/
Holy Ghost Power - https://www.hillbillythomists.com/music
The Hillbilly Thomists are a band of friars of the Order of Preachers.
After playing music together for several years, they released their eponymous debut album in 2017, which reached #3 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart and mostly consisted in bluegrass standards and Americana favorites. Since then, the friars in the band have been doing what Dominican friars do: contemplating, studying, and preaching.
In 1955, the southern author Flannery O’Connor said of herself, “Everybody who has read Wise Blood thinks I’m a hillbilly nihilist, whereas . . . I’m a hillbilly Thomist.” She said that her fiction was concerned with the ways grace is at work among people who do not have access to the sacraments. The Thomist (one who follows the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas) believes that the invisible grace of God can be at work in visible things, just as the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, in the person of Christ. https://www.hillbillythomists.com/about
They’ve also been writing songs. In 2021, they released their second studio album, Living for the Other Side, released on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (the original Thomist). A year later, they published a third record, Holy Ghost Power (released July 7, 2022).
Proceeds from album sales, donations, and merchandise sales support the formation of friars at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., where the Hillbilly Thomists first came together.
Fr. Justin Bolger, O.P., was born in Cobleskille, NY and raised in Baltimore and Frederick, MD. He hails from a family of seven. He graduated from the University of Baltimore in ’03 and went on to make music with his sister Maggie. They signed with RCA/Victor records, lived in L.A. and Nashville, and toured the country playing their original music. Fr. Justin worked as director of liturgical music at Mt. St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD and earned a masters in philosophy there. In ’12 he entered the Dominican Province of St. Joseph. He was ordained to the priesthood in ’20 and currently serves as Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry at Providence College, which was founded and still run by the Dominican friars. He continues to make music within the Order as a member of the bluegrass & folk band of friars, The Hillbilly Thomists.
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