I just got off the phone with Jimmy Carter (pictured at right), one of the founding members of the The Blind Boys of Alabama. What a great guy. Being a southerner myself, I felt like I was talking to kinfolk—time and again the cadence of his speech, his excited declarations, chuckles, and general good nature reminded me of my grandpappy.
The Blind Boys are coming to town on Dec. 22 to play The Tower Theatre, a holiday show that's already sold out. Don't let that stop you from trying to get/find/scrounge up some tickets. Or listen to the music. If you're unfamiliar, the Blind Boys are a traditional gospel band that's been around since 1939 and have played with everyone from Ben Harper, to Willie Nelson, to Lou Reed.
The seven-man band is touring in support of their latest album, Take the High Road, a country-styled album. When I asked Mr. Carter, a lifelong fan of tradition country music, why'd it taken so long to put out a country album, he just laughed.
“I don’t know. I have been lobbying to do it for a long time," he said.
Mr. Carter went on to talk about how great it was to finally record and album in Nashville while working with rising country star, Jamey Johnson ("He's a good boy. An Alabama boy," Carter said).
"It was our first time recording in Nashville. This one I think I enjoyed more than anyone of them. Everyone was so nice—it was like family," Mr. Carter said of the experience.
Check out the video below to see a little more about the making of the new album (release May, 2011). Don't forget the Dec. 22 show—and keep an eye out for a preview of the band in next week's issue.
photo: Glenn R. Carter