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ACL Fest 2013: The Blind Boys of Alabama

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 6, 2013

Change has been embraced and new ideas have found new audiences for the Blind Boys of Alabama, which has become mainstream rock’s favorite gospel group since its rebirth in 2001 with the colossal “Spirit of the Century” LP. In the past decade, they’ve continued to expand their range by making albums with sacred steel wiz Robert Randolph and soul folkie Ben Harper and going to New Orleans for a tribute to that city’s musical roots. That was also the Blind Boys singing Tom Wait’s “Way Down In the Hole” on the first season of “The Wire.” The group is always looking to be used by both the Creator and creators, so when their manager asked the members — three blind and three sighted — whether they wanted to make an album produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, they said “sure,” followed a few seconds later by “Bonnie, who?”

The Blind Boys of Alabama play at 4:30 p.m. Friday and Oct. 11 in the Zilker Tent. They also play the Stubb’s gospel brunch indoors at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Oct. 12, as well as an official after-show on Wednesday, Oct. 9, with the Shouting Matches. – Michael Corcoran

This video is part of a set of exclusive performances from Austin City Limits Music Festival acts, filmed at locations all around Austin by American-Statesman and Austin360 staff videographers.