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Blind Boys of Alabama

The Blind Boys of Alabama to sing at the Memorial Auditorium

The Blind Boys of Alabama have been together for 76 years.

Living legends of the gospel music world are about to walk the bricks of Athens.

The Blind Boys of Alabama, a Grammy-winning gospel group, will perform for the second time at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium at 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

The group has been together for 76 years, since they first started making music together in 1939 at the Alabama Institute for Negro Deaf and Blind in Talladega.

“I have been listening to the Blind Boys since I was six years old with my grandpa, so I was excited when I heard they were coming,” Sarah Walker, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, said.

The Blind Boys took the risk of touring during the Jim Crow Laws era. Founding member Jimmy Carter, who still leads the group of five men, was there when the original members performed for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and recorded a soundtrack during the Civil Rights Movement.

“I have liked their music since I saw them win the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, so I’m looking forward to seeing them perform,” Annie Weber, a sophomore studying sport management, said.

Andrew Holzaepfel, senior associate director for student activities for the Campus Involvement Center, said in an email, students should expect “an amazing evening of music with a group of legends and innovators.”

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The group tosses in a mix of R&B as well as funk within traditional gospel, which has led to multiple awards and performances for Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Along with performing for presidents, the musicians have been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

They have worked with other musicians such as Willie Nelson and Justin Vernon. The Blind Boys have even released a Christmas album with Henry “Taj Mahal” St. Claire Fredrickson to combine gospel with Mahal’s blues background.

"While the Blind Boys of Alabama are known as a gospel group their musical influences are so diverse — pulling from roots, jazz, blues, and many other genres," Holzaepfel said.


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