XPN Fest Recap: The Blind Boys of Alabama connect to Gospel roots on the River Stage

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Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

“Sit back, relax, take your shoes off if you want to, and listen to The Blind Boys of Alabama,” founding member Jimmy Carter said to greet the crowd. Instead of noting what visually impaired people cannot do, The Blind Boys of Alabama promote what they can do, and this particular group sure can sing Gospel music.

Second track “God Knows Everything” highlighted this sentiment, and it was during this song I overheard a crowd member say “you gotta go to Church one way or another.” Sunday evening on the River Stage, the Blind Boys’ angelic riffs and choir style chorus brought the crowd to church.

A Gospel rendition of “Stand By Me” dazzled the crowd midway through the group’s set. Slow jam “God is Real” reinforced the gratefulness later on in the set, and beautifully transitioned into the mesmerizing “Precious Lord.” The uplifting “Shall Not Be Moved” lead into one of the most chilling renditions of “Amazing Grace,” sung to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun.” Each of the three vocalists took a verse, joining together on the chorus, “once was blind but now I see,” bearing extra weight.

Setlist
Spirit In The Sky
God Knows Everything
I Can See
Uncloudy Day
Stand By Me
God Is Real
Precious Lord
I Shall Not Be Moved
Amazing Grace
Drive

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