MAY 2013: The Blind Boys Of Alabama's New Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) Produced Album Out This Fall, Plus All-Star Benefit CD Featuring The Blind Boys
The Blind Boys of Alabama have signed with Sony Masterworks and will release a new album this fall. The new album, produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, will feature an array of special guests, who, along with the album's title, will be announced at a later date. Vernon's production credits also include work with James Blake, Kathleen Edwards, Land of Talk, and also on The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Be sure to watch in the coming months for more information on the new album as well as international tour dates.
The Blind Boys also recently joined an all-star group of artists for We'll Paint You A Rainbow, a benefit album supporting HEARTbeats Foundation, a nonprofit that strives to help at-risk children internationally. Others featured on the album include Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, composer John Williams, and opera singers Jessye Norman and Christine Brewer. The album was released worldwide on April 8, 2013. For more information, please visit HEARTbeats Foundation at heartbeatsforchildren.org. The Blind Boys of Alabama's current lineup includes founding vocalist Jimmy Carter, along with vocalists Eric McKinnie (also on drums), Ben Moore, Bishop Billy Bowers, guitarist Joey Williams, bassist Tracy Pierce and keyboard player Peter Levin.
MARCH 2013: The Blind Boys Of Alabama And Bettye LaVette Featured At Prince Tribute Concert At Carnegie Hall
Bettye LaVette and The Blind Boys of Alabama were featured at a benefit concert in tribute to The Music of Prince at Carnegie Hall in New York City on March 7, 2013. This is the ninth year in which Michael Dorf, the owner of City Winery in New York City, has put on the benefit to raise money for arts education programs (this year's event raised $100,000). Other stars performing at the event included Elvis Costello, Talib Kweli, Booker T. Jones, The Roots, as well as Chris Rock, Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph (SNL). This is Bettye LaVatte's third time performing at the benefit in the last four years, her past performances being in tribute to Neil Young and The Who. At the event, Bettye revamped the Prince classic "Kiss" into what what Rolling Stone called "a sly, skeletal blues", while The Blind Boys covered "The Cross" with Fred Armisen on drums.
The Blind Boys' rehearsal performance at City Winery on March 6 in preparation for the Prince tribute concert garnered solid reviews from various news outlets. Okay Player stated that their performance of "The Cross" was "a showstopper, nay heartstopper, even in rehearsal... dishwashers and paper-shufflers within a 1-block radius stopped what they were doing and lifted their heads in an attempt to identify the heavenly sound. A room full of stars looked star-struck", and Rolling Stone called the event "a behind-the-scenes look into how all-star concerts come together... seamlessly." That same night of the rehearsal, The Blind Boys also performed live with The Allman Brothers Band at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. The Blind Boys performed three songs with The Allman Brothers Band including "There Will Be a Light" featuring Joan Osborne, The Allman Brother's "Soulshine" and The Blind Boys' interpretation of "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "The House of The Rising Sun".
SEPTEMBER 2012: Rosebud Artists Featured on Preservation Hall Jazz Band's 50th Anniversary Recording
Rosebud artists Allen Toussaint, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Trombone Shorty are featured on Preservation Hall Jazz Band's new CD, St. Peter & 57th St. The album, released September 25th on Rounder Records, was recorded at a live performance at the prestigious Carnegie Hall this past January in New York City where Toussaint, The Blind Boys and Trombone Shorty joined PHJB on stage along with other special guests including Steve Earle, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), My Morning Jacket and GIVERS.
The release celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Preservation Hall and its mission of preserving the musical culture and heritage of New Orleans. A portion of the album's sale will benefit Preservation Hall's ongoing music outreach program to pass down the traditions of New Orleans music to younger generations.
Rolling Stone premiered the track "It Ain't My Fault" which features Allen Toussaint, Trombone Shorty and Yasiin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def). "It Ain't My Fault," which PHJB, Bey and Shorty collaborated on in the past, has been a tool for protest in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. Click here to listen to the track on RollingStone.com.
To see Allen Toussaint, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue perform live, see Tour Dates >>
JUNE 2012: The Blind Boys of Alabama Join Tom Petty For East Canada Dates
Thanks to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers who presented The Blind Boys of Alabama as special guests for their shows last week in Eastern Canada.
The Telegram (St. John's NF) declared "gospel kings the Blind Boys of Alabama brought the salvation, with a tight band and heavenly harmonies. ...An uplifting beginning with a rousing end"
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers posted a Thank You on their official website noting "Everyone with the Blind Boys of Alabama - from the band to their crew - were incredible to have for these Canadian dates, and the entire Heartbreakers family will miss having them out on the tour" (read the full article)
The Blind Boys of Alabama and Rosebud extend their thanks to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers for adding the band to this run of dates. Catch the Blind Boys performing live on stage, please see Tour Dates >>
MAY 2012: The Blind Boys of Alabama Celebrate Amnesty International's 50th Anniversary
Inspired by Amnesty International's work and perseverance and by the Arab Spring uprising, music veteran Carl Carlton and his partners co-writer Ben Campbell, music executive/activist Jochen Wilms, and Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey teamed up with The Blind Boys of Alabama and other artists such as Carly Simon, Ewan McGregor, Kris Kristofferson, Warren Haynes, Taj Mahal, and the late Levon Helm to create this tribute.
Throughout the years, The Blind Boys of Alabama have dedicated much of their energy towards important causes around the globe. It was very natural for them to partake in the "Toast To Freedom." project. Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said, "Human rights are everybody's business. I would like to thank all the people who gave their time to make this project happen. I hope 'Toast To Freedom' will become a major source of inspiration in the coming years." For more information on the "Toast To Freedom" project, visit ToastToFreedom.org.
The legendary Blind Boys of Alabama were founded in 1939 at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind. With a career spanning more than 70 years, the Blind Boys' accolades include 5 GRAMMY Awards, a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, and recognition from 3 U.S. Presidential Administrations. Catch the Blind Boys performing live on stage, please see Tour Dates >>
Blind Boys of Alabama at Dr. John's Louis Armstrong Tribute at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Thursday, March 29, 2012 (photo by Dino Perrucci)
DECEMBER 2011: The Blind Boys Of Alabama Celebrate The Holiday Spirit with Daryl Hall
The Blind Boys of Alabama appeared with Daryl Hall on a very special Christmas edition of the award-winning internet and television series "Live From Daryl's House." The show premiered Dec. 15 exclusively at lfdh.com and will be shown on television stations around the country at later dates. "This was a very special show for me, as I have been a fan of The Blind Boys of Alabama since I was about 14 years old," enthused Daryl about their appearance. "I used to listen to them and groups like them after church on WDAS radio in Philly." Daryl joins the group for a set of seasonal classics including "Born In Bethlehem," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," and "Last Month of the Year." Also featured will be the title track from the Blind Boys' latest release, "Take the High Road."
With a mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been carrying their distinctive sound around the world on behalf of Preservation Hall, a unique venue that embodies the city's musical legacy. With a cast of musicians schooled through first-hand experience and apprenticeship into the music's historic traditions, Pres Hall has served as a vital link to the earliest days of one of America's most beloved forms of popular music.
OCTOBER 2011: The Blind Boys of Alabama To Join Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Holliday, Peabo Bryson and More at 90th Birthday Celebration Honoring Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery
The Blind Boys of Alabama are among an all-star lineup honoring the life of American civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery on October 9 at the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, GA. Hosted by CNN Anchor, Soledad O'Brien, "His Words - Our Gift: A Musical Experience" will also feature performances by Stevie Wonder, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, Jennifer Holliday, Peabo Bryson, Cicely Tyson, Cassi Davis, Dawn Lewis, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Morehouse and Spelman College glee clubs and other special guests.
Lowery became the third president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, and participated in most of the major activities of the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Honored for his many achievements over the years, Lowery was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2009.
Invited to the White House by the last three U.S. Presidential Administrations, The Blind Boys of Alabama are heading to Atlanta after appearing in front of an estimated 40,000 people at San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. The five time Grammy Award and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners are currently touring in support of their latest album, Take The High Road. In December, the band will present their special "Go Tell It On The Mountain: The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show".
The Blind Boys new traditional country-gospel album, Take the High Road has been getting critical raves. The New York Times wrote of the album: "Take the High Road is this venerable gospel group's first organized foray into country music, and it couldn't have gone much better. Recorded in Nashville with a serious crew, it finds a respectable balance between earthy and polished, sounding true to all parties involved." The "serious crew" mentioned includes co-producer and acclaimed country music artist Jamey Johnson, who also performs on the album along with Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Lee Ann Womack and The Oak Ridge Boys.
Check out the Blind Boys performing live on stage. They're currently touring Europe this July, followed by dates across the U.S. For details, please see Tour Dates >>
JULY 2011: Mavis Staples and The Blind Boys of Alabama Featured In New Gospel Documentary: Rejoice and Shout - In Select Theaters Now
Film critic Roger Ebert notes in his review, "Mavis Staples, whose father [Pops Staples] links back to the earliest days of gospel, is a warm presence throughout the film, calling on personal memories of many of the artists... this is an engaging film filled with love for the music." Check out some clips from the film in this two-thumbs-up review from Ebert Presents At The Movies (PBS). The critics point out the strength of the film lies in it's maintaining incredible full-song performances in it's presentation of archival material.
Earlier in the week, The Blind Boys will play BAMA RISING: A Benefit Concert for Alabama Tornado Recovery. The benefit, hosted by legendary country Group, Alabama, brings the country music community together to assist victims of the tornados that ravaged Alabama on April 27th. Artists joining The Blind Boys in the concert lineup (in addition to Alabama) include: Sheryl Crow, Dierks Bentley, Bo Bice, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Taylor Hicks, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker among many others. Alabama's Randy Owen, speaking on behalf of the group, said, "My hope is that this will bring happiness and help to my fellow citizens... I hope we all can pull together to help get through the worst natural disaster I've ever seen in Alabama."
The album was co-produced by acclaimed country music artist Jamey Johnson, who also performs on it along with Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack and The Oak Ridge Boys. The New York Times wrote of the album: "Take the High Road is this venerable gospel group's first organized foray into country music, and it couldn't have gone much better. Recorded in Nashville with a serious crew, it finds a respectable balance between earthy and polished, sounding true to all parties involved."
MAY 2011: The Blind Boys of Alabama To Be Featured in Music Builds: CMT Disaster Relief Concert Thursday May 12, High Profile Guest Collaborations and Media Appearances
The Blind Boys of Alabama will be featured in the all-star benefit Music Builds: CMT Disaster Relief Concert on May 12. They will perform with Hank Williams Jr., who also guests on their brand new album, Take the High Road. The concert will be broadcast live from Nashville at 9 PM ET/PT on the CMT cable network and simulcast on CMT.com. The show will raise money for people affected by the recent devastating storms, floods and tornadoes in the U.S. All money raised will benefit the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts. Other artists scheduled to appear in the concert include Alabama, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Ronnie Dunn, Trace Adkins, Sara Evans, Tim McGraw and more. In addition, President Obama will offer a special call-to-action message during the fundraising event, as will Taylor Swift, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Courtney Cox, Ellen DeGeneres and Nicole Kidman among others. (read the full story). If you would like to donate to the effort, visit the American Red Cross website, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The New York Times reviewed the Blind Boys' new album on Sunday May 8, writing: "Take the High Road is this venerable gospel group's first organized foray into country music, and it couldn't have gone much better. Recorded in Nashville with a serious crew, it finds a respectable balance between earthy and polished, sounding true to all parties involved."
The Blind Boys have recently been playing live with guests from the record and others involved in the Country scene. At the recent New Orleans Jazzfest, The Blind Boys joined Jamey Johnson (who co-produced and guests on Take the High Road) for "I Saw the Light." The song is also on Take the High Road. The Blind Boys stuck around to join headliner, Wille Nelson, another guest on their new CD, for his rendition of "I Saw the Light." The night before, they were joined by fellow Rosebud artist Jim Lauderdale for their set at legendary New Orleans venue, Tipitina's. Following Jazzfest, The Blind Boys traveled North, playing with special guests The Oak Ridge Boys (also on the new album) at their show in New York City.
Check out this video of The Blind Boys joined by Jamey Johnson and the Oak Ridge Boys live on Fox and Friends (Fox News) on May 10, 2011, performing "I Saw the Light." Founding member of The Blind Boys Jimmy Carter was also recently interviewed on The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International, click here to listen to it.
MARCH 2011: The Blind Boys of Alabama Featured in New Movie HOP (out April 1st) Plus
Daily Inspirational Twitter Posts
Five time GRAMMY Award and GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award winners, The Blind Boys of Alabama make an on-screen appearance in the new movie HOP (Universal Pictures), in theaters April 1, 2011. The film, starring James Marsden, Elizabeth Perkins and the voice of Russell Brand, among others, is from the creators of Despicable Me and blends CG animation with live action. Hop tells the story of E.B., the teenage son of the Easter Bunny who heads to Hollywood, determined to become a drummer in a rock 'n' roll band. The Blind Boys' cameo appearance revolves around E.B. stumbling upon the band in the studio while they are recording the song "Higher Ground" for the video game "Extreme Blues Master." E.B. sneaks into the session and plays drums with the group. Director Tim Hill explains, "For the story, it helped that they couldn't see that E.B. was a rabbit and he was 'filling in' while their drummer was on a break."
Also on April 1st, The Blind Boys will launch a series of inspirational tweet of the day messages, "BB Wisdom," via their Twitter account. Drawing from their vast history of gospel music and lyrics as well as their faith and life experience, members of the group will post personal and spiritual messages that have inspired them throughout their careers and lives at twitter.com/blindboys. The band will also use Twitter to keep in touch with fans about tour dates and their new album, Take The High Road, which will be released on May 3, 2011. Take The High Road is a traditional country-gospel album, co-produced by acclaimed country music artist Jamey Johnson, who also performs on the CD along with Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Lee Ann Womack and The Oak Ridge Boys.
Catch The Blind Boys performing live on stage, including a Tour of Australia and New Zealand in mid-April, which will feature Aaron Neville performing with the group and on which half the dates will be shared with fellow Rosebud artist Mavis Staples, please see Tour Dates >>
MARCH 2011: The Blind Boys of Alabama Releasing New Album Take The High Road on May 3rd
Five time GRAMMY Award and GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award winners, The Blind Boys of Alabama will release Take The High Road, a traditional country-gospel album on May 3rd, 2011. The album was co-produced by acclaimed country music artist Jamey Johnson, who also performs on it along with Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Lee Ann Womack and The Oak Ridge Boys.
The concept for the collaboration started with original Blind Boy Jimmy Carter's longstanding love of country music and his desire to do a traditional country-tinged gospel album. Last year, his idea started to take shape when the Blind Boys were asked to curate a series of shows at the prestigious Lincoln Center Festival in New York City. One of the sold-out nights featured country artists Ralph Stanley, Ray Benson (Asleep At The Wheel) and Allison Moorer performing with The Blind Boys. Soon after, they met Jamey Johnson and asked him to join them in singing the traditional song "Down By The Riverside" at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Their mutual respect and shared passion for old-time gospel music made for a powerful performance, and that moment led to the Blind Boys asking Jamey to produce their next CD.
"Out of all the records we've done together, this has been the most natural," co-producer, and former Rosebud agent, Chris Goldsmith insists (he has produced or executive produced every Blind Boys album since 2001). "The connection between the material, the Nashville guests, and the Blind Boys felt like destiny. Somewhere in history, these two almost identical styles of music - country and gospel - went their separate ways. This record brings them back together." Says Jimmy Carter, "These two traditions are very similar... We want to sing good music, no matter what kind it is. Most of all, we want to touch people's lives. We want to leave them a message they can feed upon throughout their lives."
Check out The Blind Boys performing live on stage, including a Tour of Australia and New Zealand in the last half of April, please see Tour Dates >>
The 5-time GRAMMY winning Blind Boys of Alabama were recently (February 7, 2011) featured on 700 Club, with both a profile piece and a performance. The show is seen daily by over 1 million viewers and airs on ABC Family, TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Cable) and Family Net (satellite). The Blind Boys have recently returned from touring Europe, including shows in Greece, Sweden, Poland, Norway, Finland, Scotland, The Netherlands, Germany and Ireland. Catch them performing live on a stage near you, please see Tour Dates >>