Blind Boys of Alabama perform in the Radio Heartland studio

Members of the Blind Boys of Alabama perform in Studio M.
Members of the Blind Boys of Alabama perform in the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio. (Evan Frost | MPR News)
Play/Pause
Listen:
Blind Boys of Alabama perform in the Radio Heartland studio (full session + interview)
Download MP3
| 00:20:36
  • Blind Boys of Alabama perform in the Radio Heartland studio (full session + interview) 20:36
  • Blind Boys of Alabama - God Knows Everything (Live on Radio Heartland) 04:32
  • Blind Boys of Alabama - I Can See (Live on Radio Heartland) 03:07
  • Blind Boys of Alabama - Amazing Grace (Live on Radio Heartland) 04:50

What a thrill. I mean … these guys have been singing together for more than seven decades! From their roots as young singers at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind to their many appearances at the White House, the Blind Boys of Alabama are still keeping the gospel flame alive. Almost Home is the group's 71st record in their history, and it contains songs penned for them by such writers as Phil Cook, Valerie June, John Leventhal, Marc Cohn and more. And the lyrics were based on autobiographical interviews with the Blind Boys' two surviving original members, Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter.

The Blind Boys of Alabama took a little time to bring their band into the Radio Heartland studios to talk about the new album and to perform some of this new material. The speaking voices you'll hear in the interview are leader Jimmy Carter, musical director Joey Williams and singer Ricky McKinnie.

Songs Performed


"God Knows Everything"
"I Can See"
"Amazing Grace"
The first two songs are from the Blind Boys of Alabama's 2017 album, Almost Home, distributed exclusively on Amazon. The third song is traditional.

Singers


Jimmy Carter
Ricky McKinnie
Paul Beasley
Joey Williams

Hosted by Mike Pengra
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Visuals by Evan Frost

Resources


The Blind Boys of Alabama - official site

Related Stories

  • Phil Cook performs in The Current studio Growing up in northern Wisconsin, one of Phil Cook's biggest influences was Bruce Hornsby. 'He was somebody who was playing and he could really sing and he had all this talent and was writing songs,' Cook says. 'The dude changed my life.' Cook now lives in North Carolina, and he stopped at The Current to play some songs off his new album, 'Southland Mission.'
  • Valerie June plays songs from her upcoming album, 'The Order of Time' For Valerie June, songs are like living things. 'They never leave my head and my heart,' June says. 'Once a song is born and it comes to me, then it can stay with me.' Her next album, 'The Order of Time,' comes out March 10, 2017. On a recent visit to The Current, Valerie June chatted with Brian Oake and Jill Riley, and she performed three new songs from the forthcoming record.
  • Review and photos: Irma Thomas, Blind Boys of Alabama send their voices to Guthrie rafters It's not every day you get a program walking into a concert. But at last night's Guthrie Theater affair, a grand triple bill showcasing Irma Thomas, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and the Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet, no extra step felt out of bounds. A magnificent pink chiffon flower atop Ms. Thomas's shoulder?

2 Photos

  • Three members of the Blind Boys of Alabama perform in Studio M.
    Three members of the Blind Boys of Alabama perform in the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio. (Evan Frost | MPR News)
  • The Blind Boys of Alabama pose for a photo with some of The Current Staff.
    The Blind Boys of Alabama pose for a photo with Derrick Stevens and Mike Pengra. (Evan Frost | MPR News)