Alabama blind boys and black violin

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Alabama Blind Boys teamed up with black violin for “The message”, an electrifying call to action urging listeners to stay positive and rise above fear, division and injustice. Over a fiery drum beat, an anthemic Black Violin string arrangement and searing electric guitar (performed by Marcus King), “The Message” finds the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award winners delving into contemporary instrumentation while reminding us of a classic and timeless truth: “we are all in this together.

Jimmy Carter of the Blind Boys of Alabama on “The message”“This song was written by our friend Peter Levin, who played keyboards with the Blind Boys for many years. We nicknamed him “Church Boy” because he was so good at getting that gospel sound, especially with the Hammond B3. The sound of this song is very modern. It’s not gospel sound in the traditional sense, but the message is one the Blind Boys can support – that God is always in control. We enjoyed getting to know the guys from Black Violin and loved collaborating with them on this song. They push the boundaries in their musical field, and we’d like to think we’re doing the same in our field.

Black Violin’s Wil Baptiste on “The Message”: “We were blessed to be able to tour with the Blind Boys of Alabama last summer and they are truly an inspiration not only to Black Violin but to the world. Our mantra is that we “inspire, uplift and entertain” and the Blind Boys of Alabama do the same.

“The message” is shared today in honor of the late Benjamin Moore Jr, longtime member of the Blind Boys, who died at the age of 80 earlier this year. “He was an integral part of our band, not only as a talented singer, but also as a kind and reliable friend,” said Ricky McKinnie of the band when remembering Moore. The song is the latest in a string of recent cross-genre collaborations for members of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, including last year’s GRAMMY-nominated rendition of the civil rights anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” with Béla Tache. These collaborations build on a long tradition that has seen the Blind Boys work with a wide range of legends, including Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt and Tom Waits.

“The Message” songwriter Peter Levin: “It was a real honor to co-write and co-produce “The Message” for the Blind Boys of Alabama with Black Violin. The song addresses some important social issues and seems very relevant to this moment in time. It was exciting to have Black Violin to add their lead, and then Marcus King adding guitar was the icing on the song cake. I’ve worked with the Blind Boys as a keyboard player since 2008 and we’re like family at this point, so it was a pleasure to collaborate with them in this new capacity. There is absolutely no one better to bring this song and this message to life than the Blind Boys.

Photo credit (Blind Boys of Alabama): Jim Herrington
Photo credit (black fiddle): Mark Clennon

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