The Blind Boys of Alabama: I’ll Find a Way
The Blind Boys of Alabama
I’ll Find a Way
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
You don’t have to be a believer to appreciate the music of the Blind Boys of Alabama or the message of faith, redemption and devotion they espouse, but it’s also likely that once you listen to their newest opus, I’ll Find a Way, you’ll feel a new surge of spirituality. It’s a credit to this venerable vocal group that even despite the obvious effort to bring them to a knowing Americana audience — courtesy of cameo appearances from such notables as Justin Vernon of Bon Iver (who produced this set),Patty Griffin, Megafaun‘s Phil Cook, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Sam Amidon, and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden – the Blind Boys reaffirm their traditional MO with a profound combination of gospel hymns and reverberating revelry.
It’s a credit to all concerned that those contemporary elements infused in I’ll Find a Way, the latest in a string of albums that’s brought them renewed appreciation over the past decade or so, meld so seamlessly with the traditional tack the group’s various incarnations have pursued since its first formation in the late 1930s. Indeed, as an ensemble that’s witnessed the horrors of racism, the turbulence of the ‘60s and more recently, the inauguration of a black president, the ability to change and adapt has been a constant. Yet, it’s something of a wonder that a century- old song like the rousing “Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There” is virtually indistinguishable in tone and tenacity from a fervent original “I Am Not Waiting Anymore” or Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand,” here turned into a solemn spiritual that’s sung with exceptional eloquence.
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