On their umpteenth release, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama mix some modern blues and R&B into their core gospel sound. The rhythm section, led by the organ of the legendary Booker T. Jones, keeps the accompaniment simple as the group soars through some traditional material ("Closer Walk with Thee," "Every Time I Feel the Spirit, "), a few originals by lead vocalist Clarence Fountain, and a transcendent version of Bob Dylan's "I Believe in You."
Down in New Orleans is a gospel album by The Blind Boys of Alabama, released in 2008. It won Best Traditional Gospel Album at the 51st Grammy Awards. At the Dove Awards of 2009, the album won Traditional Gospel Album of the Year, and the track Free at Last won Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year. The Blind Boys of Alabama recorded in New Orleans for the first time in their almost 75 year history. Amongst the musicians supporting include legendary pianist/producer and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Allen Toussaint and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. After performing together for over six decades, The Blind Boys of Alabama have enjoyed one of the more striking comebacks in recent memory.
On their 2012 debut Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes never hid that they were creatures of the New South – a band with old-fashioned blues, soul, gospel, and country in their blood but raised on modern rock. On their 2015 follow-up, Sound & Color, they free themselves from the vestiges of the past, let loose, and push themselves further in either direction. This could've resulted in a disjointed record pulling itself in two opposing directions, but the mess of Sound & Color is invigorating, likely because the album uses its title as a creed. Where Boys & Girls sometimes seemed a shade austere – the band took pains to color within the lines, almost as if to convey their good taste – Sound & Color bursts with oversaturated hues so vivid they seem almost tangible.
With an impressive run of hits in the '80s – thanks to a country sound washed in a sleek, pop sheen and with enough rock dynamics to put it all over – Alabama built an early template for how to be a country group in the 21st century. They had chart hits in three different decades, a pretty impressive lesson in longevity in a business that hardly encourages it. This well-sequenced set features some of the group’s most enduring songs, including “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why),” “Song of the South,” and “Mountain Music,” among others, and makes it easy to hear why Alabama was so ubiquitous in the genre.
The Blind Boys honor their roots by revisiting some classic, traditional gospel gems. But the adventurous, innovative approach that has always distinguished The Blind Boys of Alabama is equally evident, as witnessed by the inclusion of contemporary songs by noted writers Tom Waits and Ben Harper. Contains classic version of Amazing Grace to the music of House of the Rising Sun…
Southern Drawl arrives 14 years after Alabama's last secular album, 2001's When It All Goes South – a record that reached four on Billboard's Country Albums chart but is largely forgotten – but a better way to put it into context is that it is the group's first record since Brad Paisley kick-started a new millennial Alabama revival thanks to his 2011 hit "Old Alabama."
Buckle up and "Roll Tide" as we take an aerial journey over vast cotton fields, endless waters, storied football stadiums, and historical landmarks that collectively tell the tale of Sweet Home Alabama. Discover its rich history as we reveal the astronomical discoveries that helped us reach the moon and the civil rights victories that forged a path to equality for millions. The story of the Cotton State has as many dramatic turns as the tracks of the Talladega Superspeedway, and you have an unobstructed, breathtaking bird's eye view.