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Take the High Road by The Blind Boys of Alabama

Country music and old-time gospel music have borrowed from each other for decades, but rarely have the two styles blended as flawlessly as on a new offering from one of gospel music’s most revered groups.

The Blind Boys of Alabama formed in 1939, and have now teamed with fellow Alabaman Jamey Johnson, who serves as producer here, for their first country-gospel project. That the Blind Boys are still striving to inhabit new musical territory after more than seven decades of recording is commendable, and their reverence for country music is evident as they join Hank Williams Jr. on the classic “I Saw the Light” or quietly enhance Willie Nelson’s vocal on “Family Bible.”

Led by one of the group’s two surviving original members, Jimmy Carter, the Boys’ fiery, deeply soulful gospel rendition of “Take the High Road” gets a profusion of harmony courtesy of the Oak Ridge Boys. Jamey takes a turn behind the mic on an earthy version of “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” while Vince Gill and Lee Ann Womack guest on the set as well, resulting in an experience that is both musically and spiritually inspiring.

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