Music News: Blind Boys of Alabama co-founder Clarence Fountain dies at 88


Clarence Fountain performs with Blind Boys of Alabama in 2006.
Clarence Fountain performs with Blind Boys of Alabama in Australia, 2006. (James Green/Getty Images)

Singer Clarence Fountain, a founding member and longtime leader of the Blind Boys of Alabama, has died of undisclosed causes at age 88. From the 1940s onward, the Blind Boys of Alabama helped bring gospel music to a mass audience, and Fountain insisted that the group steadfastly resist temptations to make more commercial forays into pop or R&B.

In recent decades, the group have been revered legends and have collaborated with artists like Tom Waits, Lou Reed, and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). Fountain stepped away from the group in 2007 due to mounting health problems. (NPR)

Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner write podcast music

Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National) have written the theme song for a podcast dedicated to the 1998 World Cup. The musicians' collaborative project, Big Red Machine, can be heard at about 2:45 in the episode below. (Pitchfork)

NOFX apologize for comment about country fans

NOFX have apologized for joking onstage about last year's mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas. While performing in Vegas on May 27, two members of the band bantered about the shooting, with frontman Fat Mike saying about the victims, "At least they were country fans and not punk rock fans."

Response was swift, with the band losing their beer sponsorship and being dropped from their own festival. "We won't blame it on drugs or alcohol or Ambien," they said in a statement of apology. "That's too easy. NOFX said it, and we own it. We made a tasteless joke. But to be clear, NOFX does not condone violence against ANY group of people, period!" (Pitchfork)

Dolly Parton songs inspire Netflix series

Netflix has announced a new series that will turn Dolly Parton’s songs into scripted stories. Parton herself will appear in the eight-episode series, which must have seemed like a no-brainer for Netflix execs after the wild success of Coat of Many Colors, a 2015 TV movie based on the life of the music icon. "As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," said Parton in a statement. "I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix." (New York Times)

Slayer fan tries to swim back into show

Last week, Slayer stopped in Toronto for a show on their farewell tour, playing a venue that's surrounded by Lake Ontario on all sides. A fan named Chris LaRocque was kicked out during Testament’s opening set due to being drunk and rowdy. He then swam back out to the venue, only to be ejected yet again after receiving medical attention.

LaRocque was, at least, rewarded with notoriety. Slayer's Gary Holt tried to intercede on LaRocque's behalf (unsuccessfully), and the band's Scott Ian posted an Instagram snap of the swim, calling LaRocque the "fan of the tour," adding the hashtags #commitment and #hypothermia.

"I wasn't going fast. I was just trying to be incognito," said LaRocque in a subsequent interview about his sneaky swim. "I had my camouflage hat on, so I thought that might help." (Consequence of Sound)

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