12 Songs, 40 Minutes


About The Hillbilly Thomists

Taking its members from the Province of St. Joseph, a Northeastern division of the Order of Preachers, the Hillbilly Thomists are a ten-piece traditional folk and bluegrass band made up of Dominican Friars. Founded by Fathers Austin Litke (mandolin, guitar, vocals) and Thomas Joseph White (banjo, dulcimer, vocals), this unusual group takes its name from a phrase by American writer Flannery O'Connor, whose own affection for the 13th century's Saint Thomas Aquinas is shared by this amiable brotherhood of pickers and singers. The group initially began as a joyful creative outlet for Fr. Litke and Fr. White, who enjoyed playing traditional Irish tunes together. As the group swelled with the interest of some of the younger brothers of the order, they began to gravitate toward the kind of American folk traditions celebrated on the Coen Brothers' O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, adapting hymns and finding songs that were rich with scriptural and spiritual references. In 2017, the Hillbilly Thomists decided to put their growing repertoire to tape and recorded their eponymous first album, which included traditional classics like "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." The album became a surprise success, reaching the Top Ten on Billboard's Bluegrass chart.