And as the gospel of the Almighty Kanye West once said, ‘Cause ain’t nothin’ on the news but the blues’, forever highlighting the intensely macabre culture we surround ourselves in. After all, how many things can you name that are designed – one might even say destined – to bring love, joy and happiness to your life?
It’s ironic then that The Blind Boys of Alabama once set out to spread these antiquated notions of betterment all the way back in 1944 and still continue to do so today…with the blues. Gospel blues.
“We try to bring hope to the hopeful, courage to the discouraged,” said Jimmy Carter, one of the founding members of the group, “that’s what we’ve been doing.”
This was no off-handed remark, as The Blind Boys’ history is extensive, acting as a fixture of the 50s gospel scene and an avid supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Movement, playing at several benefits for the sociopolitical icon.
These days, as The Blind Boys enter their 90s, they continue to tour with the same intention that they began with. “The music might change but the message won’t change. We talk to people about Jesus. I know for a fact we’ve touched peoples lives.”
And on March 31st they did just that, bringing their uplifting gospel performance to QPAC. While, granted, the audience was slightly older, there was an electricity and enthusiasm created by The Boys’ music that surged throughout the crowd. Letting the soul of the music possess and pass through them, the crowd swayed and cheered with every new verse.
Truly, the boys Jimmy Carter, Ricky McKinnie, Peter Levin, Joey Williams, Ben Moore, Joey Williams, Trae Pierce and Paul Beasley are something special, and although they have been around for a long time, more of their blues should be in the news.
Words by Chris Seydel
Image from The Blind Boys of Alabama website