Gospel Icons Blind Boys of Alabama make triumphant return to Pittsburgh

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In the 1990’s The Blind Boys of Alabama were nominated for two Grammy Awards and performed at the White House. In recent years, the group has won five Grammy awards and collaborated with several secular artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville, and Solomon Burke to name a few.

“We have collaborated with many secular artists but we don’t deviate from our roots. It’s always gospel,” Carter said.

In 2011 the group released their first traditional gospel-country album “Take the High Road,” which had the group jamming with such country greats as Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, The Oakridge Boys, and Hank Williams, Jr.

“I love country music I grew up on it and we’ve always wanted to do a country record,” Carter said. “The record was a lot of fun and it did pretty well. We hope to do another one in the future. Pittsburgh audiences will get to hear some music from “Take the High Road” and the band’s other numerous recordings when they perform on the Dollar Bank Stage of the 54th annual Three Rivers Arts Festival June 16 at 7:30 p.m.

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, is a free 10-day music and art event running from June 7-16. It will feature more than 300 artists including Hugh Hayden who studies contradictions between the African American identity and mainstream culture. 

Following their Steel City appearance, the Blind Boys of Alabama will be traveling to Switzerland, England and Ireland to perform.

“I love Ireland it is a beautiful country and the people are wonderful,” Carter said.

They will return stateside for the release of their yet-to-be titled album, which is slated to drop in October.

“The new album is going to have a real variety of stuff on it. It will still pertain to gospel but it’ll have some deep stuff that we’ve never done before,” explained Carter of the album, which will be released on Sony Records.

“If it hadn’t been for God’s amazing grace the Blind Boys of Alabama wouldn’t be here,” Carter said. “I was blind since birth and I questioned God about that. But God has a purpose for every man’s life and this is my purpose. I take one day at a time and I’m happy.”

For more information on the Three Rivers Arts Festival visit www.3riversartsfest.org.

 

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