Underrated No. 2 - The Blind Boys of Alabama
You may have heard Blind Boys of Alabama songs for years and not realized it. The original group began in 1939 and was nominated for a Grammy for the first time in 1972. The group was formed in Talladega, Alabama, and has changed its roster over time. All the members either are or were visually impaired.
In 2024, the group is nominated for three Grammy Awards. These include Best Roots Gospel Album (Echoes of the South), Best Americana Performance ("Friendship"), and Best American Roots Performance ("Heaven Help Us All"). The group has been nominated 15 total times and has five wins. The last of those victories came in 2009 for Best Traditional Gospel Album for Down in New Orleans.
While the group is normally associated with gospel music, that is not all they do. They have performed live and/or recorded with musical artists such as Prince, Bon Iver, Peter Gabriel, and Bonnie Raitt. If you have watched the excellent police drama, The Wire, the Blind Boys of Alabama perform the theme song, "Way Down in a Hole," which is a cover of a Tom Waits song.
Few groups have ever consistently produced the beautiful harmonies of the Blind Boys of Alabama while mixing blues, jazz, and gospel with ease. The group has produced many albums, all of which are worth checking out.