The Blind Boys of Alabama and Dr. John & the Lower 911 in “Spirituals to Funk”

THIS THURSDAY November 15th at the MAYO PAC!

Two icons of American music – Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John & The Lower 911, and five-time Grammy Award winners Blind Boys of Alabama — perform together and with special guests in this concert that’s a sumptuous gumbo of New Orleans jazz, blues and gospel. CLICK HERE FOR TIX! 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. John, or Mac Rebennack, as known to friends and family, is universally celebrated as the living embodiment of the rich musical heritage exclusive to New Orleans. His very colorful musical career began in the 1950s, when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City, including recordings by Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Joe Tex and Frankie Ford. A notorious gun incident forced the artist to give up the guitar and concentrate on organ and piano.

Further trouble at home sent Dr. John west in the 1960s, where he continued to be in demand as a session musician, playing on records by Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones’ infamous Exile On Main St., to name a few. During that time he also launched his solo career, developing the charismatic persona of Dr. John the Nite Tripper. Adorned with voodoo charms and regalia, a legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album Gris-gris, which established his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots.

His many career highlights include the masterful album Sun, Moon and Herbs (1971), which included cameos from Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, and In The Right Place (1973), which contained the chart hits “Right Place Wrong Time” and “Such A Night.” Dr. John garnered Grammy award wins in 1989, 1992, 1996 and 2000. In 2004, his musical love letter to the city of New Orleans, “N’awlinz Dis Dat or D’udda,” was awarded the prestigious Académie Charles Cros 57ème Palmarès award in France. It was the first time since the 1970s that an artist from North America received the award.

He has also received six other nominations over the years. In 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy for “Sippiana Hericane,” his Hurricane Katrina benefit disc. Other awards include the American Society of Young Musicians 2007 Trailblazer Award. After Hurricane Katrina and government bunglers bashed New Orleans in 2005, Dr. John immediately stepped up to the plate with both generous relief fund-raising concerts and recordings and angry public words of protest. In 2008 he released “City That Care Forgot,” an album winning him a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. 2010’s release, Tribal, has Dr. John revisiting that classic, swampy gris-gris style that put him on the map with raving reviews.

After a half century of creating music for others and himself, Dr. John continues to write, arrange, produce and interpret with a passion that has yet to wane. He continues to dazzle and delight audiences across the globe touring consistently.

The Blind Boys of Alabama are the winners of 5 GRAMMY Awards (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009), were honored with the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award (2009), are Gospel Music Hall of Fame Inductees (2003), and are winners of 4 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards (2003, 2006, 2 Awards in 2009). Three U.S. Presidential Administrations have invited The Blind Boys to the White House: President Clinton in 1994, President Bush in 2002 and President Obama in 2010.

On the 2005 GRAMMY telecast, The Blind Boys of Alabama were featured in a performance with Mavis Staples, Kanye West and John Legend. Other on stage and recording collaborations include work with Prince, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Allen Toussaint, Ben Harper and many more.

They have had featured appearances on 60 Minutes, Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Today Show, CBS Saturday Morning and Austin City Limits.

The Blind Boys’ version of the Tom Waits song, “Way Down In The Hole”, was used as the main title theme for the popular HBO series, The Wire.

In February 2010, President and Mrs. Obama hosted In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement, featuring The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Freedom Singers, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams and the Howard University Choir. It was broadcast on PBS and NPR.

In January 2010, The Blind Boys appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, accompanied by Lou Reed. They performed the Velvet Underground classic “Jesus,” a collaboration that is also featured on The Blind Boys’ 2009 CD, Duets and which they previously sang together at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s