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Submitted by RoadSong at 2016-10-16 13:36:17 EDT
Rating: 2.0 on 3 ratings (5 reviews) (Review this item) (V)

~September 5 2004~

I had a dream I was going all over filming and interviewing interesting people. The very next night my beautiful daughter Tia took me to The Strawberry Music Festival in a meadow on the edge of Yosemite. Driving up the mountain I told Tia about the dream I had the night before.

At 8:45 in the evening The Blind Boys of Alabama took the stage. When they finished Amazing Grace, the entire audience went wild and was on it's feet. People were cheering and clapping, the applause went on and on. Never had I seen this crowd respond to a group like this at this venue.
I turned to Tia and asked her if maybe my dream was coming true this very night. She smiled and told me she thought it might.
I moved along the edge of the crowd to the backstage entrance. There was a guard asking what I wanted. I told him I wished to speak with The Blind Boys. He asked me for my pass, of course I had none. I was puzzled. If I had a dream, surely it would come true.

It was late and the festival was over when I noticed the guitar player-producer Trae Pierce, in his top hat, selling Blind Boys CD's. He was tired after being on stage for the prolonged set. I started unpacking and stacking the CD's.
He asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted to speak with the Blind Boys. He shook his head no and asked why I wanted to talk with them. I told him about the dream. He rolled his eyes and laughed. The group was after all Grammy winners, and it was not so easy to speak with them.

When the crowd left, I started helping Top Hat Trae pack the few unsold items. Finally he said 'Did you say you wanted to talk to the Blind Boys because you had a DREAM?'. I nodded in the affirmative. He picked up the box I had packed and said 'Follow me'.

When we got back stage, the guard remembered me and said 'Show me your pass'. Trae growled the guard down and said 'She's with me'. Next thing I knew I was standing in a private pavilion and each of the Blind Boys sat at their own table resting. They were old even back then, but not too old to bring the audience to their feet.

Top Hat Trae spoke with each of the Blind Boys. He told them I had come from a dream. I spoke with each of them separately and told them they had moved the audience like no other performers I had ever seen at Strawberry. They are all blind and did not see all the people standing up, moved by their music.
Each man was soft spoken and polite, and asked me why I had come. I wanted to know what it was like spending a lifetime on the road making music. My request was 'Please tell me a story'. I had no recorder, so I scribbled on a series of napkins. I still have those napkins.

After the Blind Boys, I went on to interview and film many other Grammy winners.
Follow your dreams.


Awards and honors

2002 – Grammy in Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album for Spirit of the Century
2003 – Grammy in Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album for Higher Ground
2003 – Gospel Music Hall of Fame induction
2003 – Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association in Traditional Gospel Album of the Year for Higher Ground
2004 – Grammy in Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album for Go Tell It On the Mountain
2005 – Grammy in Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album for There Will Be a Light
2005 – Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind
2005 – First Niarchos Prize for Survivorship from Her Majesty, Queen Noor of Jordan through The Landmine Survivors Network
2006 – Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association in Traditional Gospel Album of the Year for Atom Bomb
2009 – Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association in Traditional Gospel Album of the Year for Down in New Orleans
2009 – Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association in Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year for "Free At Last"
2009 – Grammy in Best Traditional Gospel Album for Down in New Orleans
2009 – Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
2010 – Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction
Three U.S. Presidential administrations have invited the Blind Boys to the White House: President Clinton in 1994, President George W. Bush in 2002, and President Obama in 2010.


Review This Item




Submitted by Shlongy at 2016-10-17 11:05:47 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

I remember this.

Submitted by RoadSong at 2016-10-16 22:28:10 EDT (#)

I wish to see jumping horse tat!

Submitted by OathMeal at 2016-10-16 22:19:21 EDT (#)

A rare, prescient moment of clarity, below.

Submitted by skrapmetal at 2016-10-16 21:23:47 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Unrelated: Just got back from a week's vaca in Asheville NC. While there, we went into the River Arts District and checked out the studios where the artists are working at their craft while offering their work for sale. We looked at a lot of paintings and sculptures and pottery and glass, and bought a couple things that were within our budget. Like most people, we kinda thought the artists were generally overly proud of their product. And then...

MLW had looked up a tattoo artist in Asheville who has a rep for being awesome at covering and adapting existing tats to make them new and different. We stopped by the guy's shop and talked for a while, made an appointment to go back to get her tat reworked, and left. Went back next day and spent from 5pm until 12:30 am getting the rose/hummingbird ankle ring redone into flowers and a jumping horse. Amazing. The guy charges $100/hr and was worth every dime. He discounted an hour and a half, so we left after paying him $400 for an excellent effort. And then...

After thinking on it for a while, I realized that maybe an artist who spends 20 hours painting a canvas and then puts a $1000 price tag on it is really not out of line after all. Still beyond my budget unless it really jumps out at me, of course, but I can no longer consider it unreasonable. Something to consider if you're buying original art.

Submitted by Fucking foul at 2016-10-16 21:05:21 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Homer: I want everyone to know that this is Ned Flanders ... my

Lenny: What'd he say?

Carl: I dunno. Somethin' about being gay.

Homer Loves Flanders