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N e w s  A r t i c l e s

Drummer Ricky McKinnie moves to front of the stage with the Blind Boys

Melissa Ruggieri October 2012


Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, and Billy Bowers usually form the front line of singers. But Bowers recently was injured and underwent back surgery, so  McKinnie is taking his place at the microphone. 

"I feel privileged to be up front with the other guys. But I'm comfortable wherever I am," he says. 

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Interview: Ricky McKinnie of the Blind Boys of Alabama 
Hannah Shannon November 2023

The Blind Boys of Alabama have been very busy lately, releasing their new album Echoes of the South in early autumn, collaborating on two new singles with the group Black Violin, and getting started on an Echoes of the South tour as well as planning for their annual holiday shows. Collaboration is something that’s continuing to be important to The Blind Boys, having previously worked with Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, Prince, Bon Iver, and many more. In particular, they support multi-generational collaboration as a source of greater mutual understanding and strength for communities.

Interview - The Phantom Tollbooth

Joe Montague 2006

You notice two things about Ricky McKinnie when you first meet him. First he is a good looking man. Secondly as the conversation unfolds you notice what a positive and caring individual McKinnie is. I met him at his Toronto hotel room a few hours before Blind Boys of Alabama were scheduled to perform in concert at one of Canada's premier venues Massey Hall. McKinnie is the drummer for the legendary gospel group. He looks debonair sporting a grey goatee. 


"I'm not blind. I just can't see."  A Chat with the Blind Boys' Ricky McKinnie
Paul O'Donnell March 2008

Ricky McKinnie has been playing with the Blind Boys of Alabama for more than three decades, and that makes him one of the new guys.  First recorded in the 1940s, the Blind Boys were known mostly to traditional gospel audiences until the early '80s when  they were cast in the Broadway show "The Gospel at Colonus".  Their wider exposure led to invitations to play with some of the biggest names in mainstream rock, including a tour with Tom Petty. 

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