Gospel legends the Blind Boys of Alabama kicked off a three show run at New York’s Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center Monday night. Though the Blind Boys has performed consistently for over 70 years, in recent years the band has earned a new following of younger fans thanks to collaborations with artists like Ben Harper and String Cheese Incident, appearances at festivals like Bonnaroo and gospel reworkings of modern songs.
The first night of the group’s Lincoln Center run was dubbed “Spirit in the Dark” and featured appearances by several notable indie and alternative rocks. Throughout the night, the members of the Blind Boys collaborated with Yo La Tengo, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Marshall Allen and the Sun Ra Horns, Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner and Exene Cervenka. The musicians collaborated in a variety of configurations throughout the night, including James and the members of Yo La Tengo with the Blind Boys, Wagner and the members of Yo La Tengo with the Blind Boys and the evening’s entire cast. The Blind Boys also delivered a few songs without guests during the two-set show. Highlights included Cervenka’s version of “A Change is Gonna Come” with the Blind Boys and James’ arrangement of his Monsters of Folk song “Dear God” and MMJ’s “Wonderful.”
The Blind Boys will return to Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center tonight. “The Unbroken Circle” will feature a number of bluegrass and country musicians like Dr. Ralph Stanley and Friends, Yonder Mountain String Band, Ray Benson and Jason Roberts of Asleep at the Wheel, Ralph Stanley and Allison Moorer.