WHO ARE THEY? In this corner: Marc Cohn, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter best known for the classic hit Walking in Memphis. In that corner: Blind Boys of Alabama, the Grammy-winning gospel outfit — now fronted by octogenarian Jimmy Carter — that has been around in one form or another since 1939.
WHAT IS THIS? A three-song EP fleshed out into a full album, thanks to the inclusion of superb live tracks recorded last year for an entertaining episode of the PBS concert series The Kate.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A meeting of musical minds. Cohn supplies the bulk of the material, including Walking in Memphis, Ghost Train, Baby King, the Band tribute Listening to Levon and Silver Thunderbird, along with the new title cut and Talk Back Mic. The Blind Boys add their lush, stirring harmonies to those cuts, while getting their props in more traditional fare like Amazing Grace and Walking in Jerusalem.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Work & Play.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While enjoying your own homemade Sunday gospel brunch.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Spiritual, heartfelt, soulful, bluesy, earthy, rich, joyful, welcoming, collaborative, uplifting.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? It’s hard not to be drawn to the familiar Memphis and Amazing Grace, but really, every one of these cuts is a keeper.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘I don’t really understand how or why these guys got together — but I’m very glad they did.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? It could easily become a Sunday tradition.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A CAR, WHAT KIND OF CAR WOULD IT BE? A silver Thunderbird, of course. But it would only be driven to church.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Thou shalt not … you know.