Iconic gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama received this week their tenth nomination from the 2018 60th Grammy Awards. In the American Roots Music Field, they received the nom for "Best American Roots Performance" for their song "Let My Mother Live" off their latest album Almost Home, released this summer on BBOA Records as an Amazon Original. Throughout their eight-decade history, the group has won five Grammy Awards including 2009's Lifetime Achievement Award.
The story of "Let My Mother Live" originates from the childhood of original founding member Jimmy Carter. It recounts the devastating loss of his father in 1945 during a mining accident when Carter was just 12 years-old. The youngest of six boys, Carter and his father were very close and his death lead to a difficult time. Still close with his mother, the family struggled for a while to overcome the loss and make ends meet. When asked during the album interviews "Have you ever asked God for anything?", Carter responded "I asked him to let my mother live 'til I get grown." Fearing the loss of his mother as well, he prayed every night that his mother would live to see him through his adolescence. And she did. She lived until she was 103 years old.
"Let my mother live 'til I get grown / Don't leave me in a God-forsaken world all alone" sings Carter with strength and vulnerability throughout the song. "I was just a boy when my daddy died / He got killed down in the mine in 1945 / I remember people talkin' while my momma cried / I was just a boy when my daddy died."
Coming almost 70 years after the group released its first single, Almost Home serves as a fitting capstone to a career that has helped define the sound of American music. Recorded over four difference sessions with four different Grammy-winning producers in four different cities, Almost Home serves as a musical memoir, telling stories from the lives of original founding members Jimmy Carter and Clarence Fountain (both now in their eighties), through new, original songs written by Valerie June, North Mississippi Allstars, John Leventhal, Ruthie Foster, Marc Cohn, and others.