Originally published on Mon November 28, 2011 7:00 am
Los Angeles's Foster the People seemingly appeared out of nowhere, taking the blogosphere and Top 40 radio by storm with the viral single "Pumped Up Kicks," a breezy summer jam with a subtly sinister edge.
The numbers alone bear out The Blind Boys of Alabama's status as one of the greatest and most venerated gospel groups the world has ever known. Formed under a different name in 1939, the band has understandably experienced many lineup changes in the 72 years since: Singer Jimmy Carter is the only participant in this lineup billed as a founding member, and even that term is up for debate.
I was shocked to learn that The Civil Wars' Joy Williams and John Paul White were married, but not to each other: There's blissful, swooning chemistry as they stare into each other's eyes and sing magnificently together. For a moment, I almost felt duped, and then I remembered what I'd heard and all was set right again.
For a hundred years, there was singing in the classrooms of St. Cecilia's School in Brooklyn. But since the parish closed it down a couple of years ago, the space has been pretty quiet. The empty rooms are rented by artists or for the occasional film shoot.
This spring, musician Dan Knobler got the keys to the five-story school building from the church, and when he opened the door, he says he knew it could work.