Blind Boys of Alabama Lend Their Voices to Tornado Victims
The Blind Boys of Alabama obviously have a special place in their hearts for the people of their home state, so the group quickly signed on to participate in tonight's 'Music Builds: The CMT Disaster Relief Concert' organized by Hank Williams Jr., which will also feature performances by Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Alan Jackson, and many others. The legendary gospel group was in Nashville just days after the disaster for a listening party celebrating the release of their first-ever country album, 'Take the High Road' (produced by fellow Alabama native Jamey Johnson), and both Jamey and the Blind Boys spoke with reverence about the way Alabama has handled the horrific tragedy with grace and humor.
"I live in Birmingham, and there was a place called Devlin Grove and it really, really wrecked that place out," Blind Boys founding member Jimmy Carter tells the Boot. "I have a brother in Birmingham, and our house is still there and thank God for that. Alabamans are very resilient, and we will rise again."
"Everybody's trying to pick up the pieces, and we are praying that God will continue to bless Alabama because without God we have nothing," added Blind Boys member Ben Moore. "And of course we are praying for those who are less fortunate, and for those that lost their lives and those that lost their homes and families, and we are trusting that God will rise up Alabama from this tragedy."
Jamey Johnson drove down just days after the tornadoes to survey the damage to his home state firsthand, and says he was struck by the unbelievable spirit of community and love that permeated the ravaged and virtually destroyed areas.
"I grew up in Alabama and spent my early days running from my share of tornadoes like everybody else, but I don't think I've ever seen anything like that. I couldn't be more proud to see how well Nashville reacted to the flood we had last year, and that's the same thing you'll see in Tuscaloosa right now. You'll see lights cast out over this devastation, and you're gonna see bodies out there working, and people putting their community back together and helping to put each other's lives back together. When I rode through, I expected to see some distraught people because they were sitting there in a situation where they should be and have every right to be, but I saw people laughing, patting backs, hugging necks and smiling, and being inexplicably happy in a situation where they should be understandably frustrated."
The special benefit concert will air at 9:00 PM ET tonight from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, and proceeds will go to the American Red Cross to help victims in the tornado-stricken areas in several states across the U.S.. More than 300 people were killed across seven states during the deadly twisters, with 250 deaths in Alabama alone.