I’ll Find a Way by Blind Boys of Alabama

Mixed Media
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While most of the original members of this group are gone (they began in 1939!), the spirit of their long tradition of African-American gospel sounds is more than alive and well. Here the Boys collaborate with longtime superfan Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver), who loved to listen to gospel music growing up. He puts his mark on this album by trying to connect this traditional music with a younger audience.

Vernon brought in many collaborators, including Patty Griffin, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond. He lends his own voice on the Bob Dylan cover, “Every Grain of Sand.” He writes in the liner notes that this song “sustained me through one of the darkest period of my life.”

No original writing here, but each track has the mark of The Blind Boys’ distinct voices. Classic gospel songs like “I Shall Not Be Moved,” “Take Me to the Water,” “God Put a Rainbow in the Cloud,” and “My God Is Real” develop into relevant and prophetic lyrics for the 21st century. The title of the album comes from a lesser-known spiritual, “I’ll Find a Way (To Carry it All).” Shara Worden’s soaring vocals on this track are a highlight of this near-flawless collection of songs. (Sony)

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