By Katie Konishi, Marketing Specialist
We throw around the title “living legends” a lot but the Blind Boys of Alabama truly deserve the moniker. Formed in 1939, this group has lived through some of the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history and come out singing on the other side – literally. The group’s soulful gospel music has matured over the years, but their mission has never changed. As a track on their new album states, they “Stay on the Gospel Side” in their work.
The founding members of the group met at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, Alabama. The original group consisted of Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter, George Scott, Johnny Fields, and Tommy Gilmore. Of the original members, Jimmy is the only one still touring with the group. Clarence appears on their latest album, but rarely travels with the group. The group just released a new album titled Almost Home, their 68th album, if Wikipedia is to be believed. 68!
Currently, the line-up of the group consists of founding member Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Eric “Ricky” McKinnie, Joey Williams, Trae Pierce, Peter Levin, and Paul Beasley. Clarence Fountain still appears with the group when his health allows. The group has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards and have won six, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. They’ve been invited to the White House by three different administrations: President Clinton in ’94, President Bush in ’02, and President Obama in ‘10.
And while the awards they’ve racked up are certainly impressive, their music really speaks for itself. They practically created the gospel sound of the 21st century and continue to define the genre today. Just see for yourself in the video below of “Singing Brings Us Closer.”
We’re so excited to bring this slice of music history to Lone Tree and hope that you can join us for this uplifting night of music on September 15th at 8pm. Tickets and more information are available here: http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/blindboys
Fun fact: “Mother’s Children Have a Hard Time,” a Grammy-nominated track from the compilation album God Don’t Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson was recorded at FAME Recording Studio, which should sound familiar if you saw Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You There – it’s one of the studios in Muscle Shoals! They also recorded a track from their latest album in Muscle Shoals as well.