Storied Blind Boys will 'spiritually uplift' VIMF crowd

The five-time Grammy-winning Blind Boys of Alabama will be at MusicFest 2014. - Photo submitted
The five-time Grammy-winning Blind Boys of Alabama will be at MusicFest 2014.
— image credit: Photo submitted

For those who regularly attend the Vancouver Island MusicFest, the Sunday morning Gospel Show has become one of the most anticipated performances of the weekend.

This year, executive producer Doug Cox has booked the five-time Grammy-winning gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama to headline the MusicFest mainstage on Sunday morning, July 13.

"Sunday mornings at the festival have always had a sort of magic about them," says Cox. "I can only imagine how special it will be this year when Blind Boys of Alabama take the stage."

The Blind Boys of Alabama first sang together in 1944. Since then, the group's output has spanned seven decades of tours and appearances, and produced a successful discography.

The performing core of the group consists of seven musicians, including three blind singers, original founding member Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, and Eric (Ricky) McKinnie, guitarist and musical director Joey Williams and a keyboard player, a bass player, and a drummer.

Since their formation, the Blind Boys have made it their self-proclaimed goal to "spiritually uplift audiences." The gospel group has been a source of inspiration for those with disabilities.

In the words of McKinnie, "Our disability doesn't have to be a handicap. It's not about what you can't do. It's about what you do. And what we do is sing good gospel music."

VI MusicFest also announced several additions to the 2014 lineup including the Royal Southern Brotherhood and Lowrider Band.

Lowrider Band is comprised of four prolific, multi-platinum singer-songwriters — Howard Scott (guitar), Harold Brown (drums), Lee Oskar (harmonica) and B.B. Dickerson (bass). This dynamic frontline of seven accomplished musicians is guilty of dishing up many of the greatest tunes to permeate airwaves since the dawn of radio: The Cisco Kid, Low Rider, Spill the Wine and The World is a Ghetto are a few mega-hits from the band's exhaustive discography.

Royal Southern Brotherhood is an American blues and blues rock supergroup, consisting of singer and percussionist Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers band; vocalist and guitarist Devon Allman, son of Gregg Allman; vocalist and guitarist Mike Zito; drummer Yonrico Scott, and bassist Charlie Wooton.

The band released their debut album on May 8, 2012. It debuted at number five on the Billboard Blues chart, and number thirty on the Heatseekers album chart.  Their music has been described as simultaneously progressive and traditional - rock, blues, and funk flows freely.

These are only some of the great artists scheduled to perform during the 20th aniversary VI MusicFest. There are fewer than 200 earlybird tickets left.

For a current list of performers and tickets, go to www.islandmusicfest.com.

— Vancouver Island MusicFest

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