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

Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

“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. Continue reading →


XPNFest adds artists incl. Darlingside, Blind Boys of Alabama, Harmony Woods, &More

clockwise from left: Darlingside | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN // Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Jim Herrington | courtesy of the artist // Harmony Woods | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN // &More | photo by Dejanaya Spicer | courtesy of the artist

These are exciting times, folks. As if this year’s XPoNential Music Festival lineup wasn’t already stacked enough, today we’re thrilled to announce several more artists that will be joining us this summer on the Camden Waterfront. Continue reading →


XPN Welcomes Taj Mahal with Blind Boys of Alabama to the Keswick Theatre on June 15th

Blind Boys of Alabama photo by Cameron Witting
Blind Boys of Alabama photo by Cameron Witting

Taj Mahal and Blind Boys of Alabama are playing the Keswick Theatre on Thursday, June 19th. Tickets are on sale now. The show promises to be a fantastic roots music filled evening of gospel, country and folk blues. Below, watch Taj Mahal perform his classic “Fishin’ Blues,” and listen to the Blind Boys perform their breathtaking cover of Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand,” from their recent Bon Iver produced I’ll Find A Way.


XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of The Week: “I’ve Been Searching” by The Blind Boys of Alabama

BlindBoysPhoto The legendary Blind Boys of Alabama have returned with a new album, I’ll Find A Way, produced by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir). With an excellent selection of covers of songs by Bob Dylan (“Every Grain of Sand”), “There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated at the Conference Table),” by The Chi-Lites, Ralph Stanley’s “Got Put A Rainbow in the Cloud,” and “I Am Not Waiting Anymore” by Field Report, the album features contributions from Patty Griffin, Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Sam Amidon. Vernon also assembled an excellent band including bassist Mike Lewis, Phil Cook on piano, Reggie Pace on tuba and percussion, JT Bates drums and Vernon on guitar and vocals.

Below, listen to “I’ve Been Searching,” a soulful reggae featuring Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs.


Listen to The Blind Boys Of Alabama’s Non-Comm performance at World Cafe Live At The Queen in Wilmington

Via NPR Music:

Six-time Grammy-winning gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama was first formed at Alabama’s Talladega Insitute for the Blind in 1939. It was there that the original five members came together under the moniker “The Happyland,” which was changed to The Blind Boys of Alabama in 1948.

In the group’s incredible 70-year existence, it has released more than 60 albums and been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Maintaining their signature four-part harmonies, the band members have experimented with various styles within the gospel tradition. The Blind Boys’ blend of traditional and contemporary gospel, soul and R&B once confined the group to small gospel venues, but after collaborating with artists such as Mavis StaplesTom PettyPrincePeter Gabriel and Taj Mahal, it’s become a global sensation.

The Blind Boys’ latest release, Take the High Road, continues this expansion into other genres: This time, the group explores the connection between traditional country and gospel. The 13-track collection has an all-star guest list, including Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Lee Ann Womack and the Oak Ridge Boys. The material mixes old and new with a soulful feel.

Listen to a 25-minute celebration of country and gospel with the Blind Boys of Alabama, recorded live at The Queen in Wilmington, Del.

You can listen to last night’s entire performance here.


Stream God Don’t Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson featuring Lucinda Williams, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Tom Waits, and others

Album cover courtesy of Alligator Records
Album cover courtesy of Alligator Records

God Don’t Never Change is a new tribute album to gospel blues legend Blind Willie Johnson. The album features contributions from Lucinda Williams, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Rickie Lee Jones, Luther Dickinson, Cowboy Junkies, two songs by Tom Waits, and others. Continue reading →


Just released: Live At the World Cafe, Volume 44

Hot off the presses, Live At the World Cafe, Volume 44 is available now for a donation. The 17 song collection includes Cafe performances from Brandi Carlile, Margo Price, Moby, Natalie Prass, Mt. Joy, Nathaniel Ratefliff and the Night Sweats and many more.

You can get a copy of the new collection of World Cafe tracks by donating here. Check out the full track list below.

Live at the World Cafe, Volume 44

1. Brandi Carlile “The Joke”
2. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “A Little Honey”
3. Margo Price “Heart Of America”
4. Natalie Prass “Short Court Style”
5. Mt. Joy “Silver Lining”
6. Lo Moon “Loveless”
7. First Aid Kit “You Are The Problem Here”
8. Lake Street Dive “Musta Been Something”
9. Blind Boys Of Alabama “I Can See”
10. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds “Holy Mountain”
11. Sunflower Bean “I Was A Fool”
12. Moby “The Sorrow Tree”
13. Courtney Marie Andrews “Kindness Of Strangers”
14. Darlingside “Eschaton”
15. Lizz Wright “Singing In My Soul”
16. Sunny War “If It Wasn’t Broken”
17. Jen Cloher “Analysis Paralysis”


Revisit XPNFest 2018 with a 48-song VuHaus video playlist

Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

The annual XPoNential Music Festival is the pinnacle of summer, drawing crowds of passionate music lovers and diehard festival goers. This year’s lineup was impressively diverse, including prominent, well-known artists, from Margo Price, Mondo Cozmo and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real to newly emerging bands like Harmony Woods, Bermuda Triangle and The National Reserve. Continue reading →