It seems as if the Blind Boys of Alabama have always existed. Of course, given my tender age and the fact the Blind Boys began performing in 1939 when they met at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind, my observation is right on the money.
Growing up, I was fascinated by the Blind Boys of Alabama, especially given our origins in the same state, my hometown being Mobile. Being the member of an all-white Methodist church that never sang more than two songs on any Sunday and never got more rousing than "Onward, Christian Soldiers," I was taken back when I first heard the stirring screams, hoops, hollers and calls coming from this amazing singing group. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before. The Blind Boys' music was mesmerizing then, and it still is today. Songs such as 1948's "I Can See Everybody's Mother But Mine" continue to resonate among gospel, R&B and rock and roll artists.
More than 70 years after they first formed, the Blind Boys of Alabama are still at it, having recently released Take The High Road, which pulls together a talented group of players that once again highlights the Blind Boys' versatility and universality. The album features performances with Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, the Oak Ridge Boys, Hank Williams Jr. and Lee Ann Womack, and its 13 tracks present an abundance of musical treasures. The all-star roster of guest musicians is fitting for a group who has long captivated audiences, including two presidents, and been honored with Grammy and National Endowment for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards.
We're so excited that the group will be with us this week to participate in our celebration of the life, legacy and music of Aretha Franklin, as we pay tribute to her during the 16th annual American Music Masters. We're also so privileged that Jimmy Carter, one of the Blind Boys of Alabama's founding members, is able to join us for not only an interview, but also what promises to be an incredible performance.
I urge everyone in earshot of me to come down to the Museum for the Blind Boys of Alabama's performance on Tuesday, November 1 at 7 pm. It's a musical experience like few others. For more information, click here.
WATCH: Blind Boys of Alabama - "Take The High Road"