Formed in the late 1930s at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, the group has harmonized throughout the turbulent twentieth century and well into the twenty-first: from Jim Crow through Civil Rights and into the Obama era. They have, however, enjoyed some of their biggest and most rousing successes in the last dozen years, during which they’ve won five Grammys, four Gospel Music Awards, and multiple invitations to sing at the White House.

I’ll Find A Way, the Blind Boys of Alabama’s ninth studio album of the twenty-first century, represents a strong new chapter for the band, whose career stretches back more than seventy years.

A unique collaboration between one of popular music’s longest-running acts and one of its fastest-rising stars, I’ll Find A Way is a powerful collection of gospel and spiritual songs new and old, featuring some of the Blind Boys’ most fervent vocals as well as contributions by a new generation of Blind Boys fans – Sam Amidon, Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Casey Dienel of White Hinterland, Patty Griffin, and producer Justin Vernon of Bon Iver himself.

For I’ll Find A Way, the Blind Boys of Alabama – which includes Jimmy Carter, Eric ‘Ricky’ McKinnie, Joey Williams, Tracy Pierce, Ben Moore, and newest addition Paul Beasley – decamped to the wintry wild of rural Wisconsin to record at Vernon’s April Base studio. Known primarily for his work in the indie and folk realms, the Bon Iver frontman proved a perfect fit to work with the Blind Boys, exhibiting a deep knowledge and appreciation of gospel music.

Vernon and old friend and band mate Phil Cook (Megafaun, The Shouting Matches) corralled a lively backing band for the album and hand-picked a range of songs for the Blind Boys to sing. Some numbers, such as “Take Your Burden to the Lord And Leave It There,” have been sung for nearly a century now, while others, like “I Am Not Waiting Anymore,” were penned only a year or two ago. The result of this unique collaboration is a collection of rousing tunes that address life’s most desperate hours but also savor the triumphs and reassurances of faith.

 

The Blind Boys of Alabama will be making the following appearances throughout 2013:

09/13   Duke Performances, Hayti Heritage Center, Durham NC
09/14   Duke Performances, Hayti Heritage Center, Durham NC
09/19   Princess Theatre, Decatur AL
09/20   Germantown Performing Arts Center, Germantown TN
09/21   University of the South, Guerry Auditorium, Sewanee, TN   
09/23   UTC Fine Arts Center, Chattanooga TN
09/25   War Memorial Auditorium, Nashville TN (w/ Mavis Staples, Jacob Jones)
09/26   Toy F. Reid Employee Center, Kingsport TN
09/27   The Ned McWherter Cultural Arts Center, Jackson TN
09/28   WorkPlay Theatre, Birmingham AL
10/04   Austin City Limits Festival, Austin TX
10/05   Stubb’s BBQ, Austin TX
10/07   Red River Revel, Shreveport LA
10/09   Stubb’s Ampitheater, Austin TX (w/ The Shouting Matches)
10/11   Austin City Limits Festival, Austin TX
10/12   Stubb’s BBQ, Austin TX
10/19   Harrah’s Tahoe, Stateline NV
10/24   The Hamilton, Washington DC
10/26   Terminal 5, New York NY (w/ The Black Crowes)
11/01   Seva Gala, Julia Morgan Ballroom, San Francisco CA
11/02   Seva Benefit, The Fillmore, San Francisco CA (w/ Hot Tuna, Dumpstaphunk)
11/07   Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis MN
11/09   Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago IL
11/14   Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown NY (w/ Mavis Staples)
11/17   Back2Black Festival, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
11/20   Grand Theatre, Kingston ON Canada
11/21   Flato Markham Theatre for the Performing Arts, Markham ON Canada
11/22   The Rose Theatre, Brampton ON Canada
12/05   Boulder Theater, Boulder CO
12/06   Higley Center for the Performing Arts, Gilbert AZ
12/07   Poway Center for the Performing Arts, Poway CA
12/10   Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles CA
12/12   Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga CA
12/13   Mondavi Center, UC Davis, Davis CA
12/14   The Uptown Theatre, Napa CA
12/15   Humboldt State University, Arcata CA
12/17   Benaroya Hall, Seattle WA
12/18   Seasons Performance Hall, Yakima WA