GRASS VALLEY, CA, November 12, 2023 – The Center for the Arts is pleased to present The Blind Boys of Alabama in the Marisa Funk Theater on December 13, 2023.
The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. Celebrated by The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Recording Academy with Lifetime Achievement Awards, inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and winners of five Grammy® Awards, they have attained the highest levels of achievement in a career that spans over 70 years.
The Blind Boys are known for crossing multiple musical boundaries with their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material by songwriters such as Eric Clapton, Prince and Tom Waits. They have appeared on recordings with many artists, including Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Susan Tedeschi, Ben Harper, Patty Griffin and Taj Mahal. The Blind Boys of Alabama have also appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night, The Grammy® Awards, 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report and many other television shows.
Hailed as “gospel titans” by Rolling Stone, the Blind Boys of Alabama defied the considerable odds stacked against them in the segregated south, working their way up from singing for pocket change to performing for three different American presidents. The New York Times explained that in their earlier years, the band “came to epitomize what is known as jubilee singing, a livelier breed of gospel music,” adding that “they made it zestier still by adding jazz and blues idioms and turning up the volume, creating a sound…like the rock ‘n’ roll that grew out of it.” TIME raved that the group has always been “hunting for—and finding—the perfect note or harmony that lifts an old tune into the sublime,” while The Washington Post praised their “soul-stirring harmonies” and “cross-genre collaborations,” and The New Yorker simply dubbed them “legendary.”
For Echoes Of The South, their latest album released in September, the Blind Boys went back to their roots for inspiration, both in terms of song selection and recording techniques. Working out of The Nutthouse in Sheffield, AL, the singers performed live on the floor with a stripped-down band like the old days, teaming up with an all-star crew of players including pianist Phil Cook (Bon Iver, Hiss Golden Messenger), drummer Chad Gamble (Jason Isbell, Beck), and bassist Dennis Crouch (Gregg Allman, Emmylou Harris) to capture a series of electrifying performances that channeled the raw energy, lush harmonies, and spiritual rapture the group was raised on.
“We really wanted to get back to the heart of the Blind Boys,” says Ross-Spang, who produced the album along with Tanner and the group’s co-manager, Charles Driebe. “While the songs span decades, the feeling from them should always be timeless, and we tried to capture that magic live in the room.”
There is indeed an undeniable magic to Echoes Of The South, which opens with the stirring “Send It On Down.” A standard from the band’s early days, the tune builds to a call-and-response fever pitch around a single, ecstatic vamp designed to bring the entire congregation to its feet. The work those six young men started back in Birmingham still isn’t finished, so they keep on singing, spreading light and love everywhere they go.
Bask in the glorious music of these legendary musicians, The Blind Boys of Alabama, on December 13, 2023.
WHAT: The Blind Boys of Alabama Annual Christmas Show
WHERE: The Center for the Arts | 314 West Main Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945
WHEN: Wednesday, December 13, 2023 | Doors 6:30 pm | Show 7:30 pm
TICKETS: $40-60 | https://bit.ly/3FI0PI2
WEBSITE & INFO:thecenterforthearts.org | (530) 274-8384