Album Review: Take the High Road by Blind Boys Of Alabama
Very Good, Based on 3 Critics
PopMatters - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Of the 75,000 albums released in 2010, roughly umpteen million were gospel tributes. Patty Griffin, Lizz Wright, Mavis Staples, and the duo of Gary Lucas and Dean Bowman all cut NPR-friendly albums that notably included old hymns and spirituals. Their gospel covers tended towards well-performed curios, though occasionally the musicians managed to do something genuinely new with their source material.
Billed as the Blind Boys of Alabama’s country-gospel album, Take the High Road has a valuable pedigree from a country standpoint: it was recorded in Nashville with a cream-of-the-crop cast of musicians, and it features appearances from Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr. , Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, and the Oak Ridge Boys. It also finds young country star Jamey Johnson in the production chair, a development that came after the Blind Boys performed with him at an Alabama Music Hall of Fame ceremony and they decided to record together.
Gerald Clayton The pianist Gerald Clayton has been news in jazz circles for a long while now, given the tenderness of his age. (He’ll turn 27 this week.) Growing up in Southern California he took after the Oscar Peterson mold, articulate and assured, justifying his place in top-shelf bands organized by the bassist John Clayton, his father. Even five years ago he seemed nearly fully formed.