Scott Jordan

Historic Blind Boys/Preservation Hall tour launches tonight at Festival International

“The dream has been that nothing comes without hard work, and if you can dream the dream and do the work and keep the faith, everything’s going to be alright. All the doors we hoped would come open have opened, and we have let people know that a disability doesn’t have to be a handicap. A disability is nothing but a limitation, and we all have limitations.”

That’s what Blind Boys of Alabama drummer, road manager and business manager Ricky McKinnie told me last week. Lafayette gets to witness the fruits of that belief firsthand tonight, when The Blind Boys of Alabama headline Festival International and launch a historic tour and collaboration with the Preservation Hall Horns. (Their set begins at 8 p.m. at the Popeyes Scène International Stage.) The Blind Boys and Preservation Hall Jazz Band recorded together for the first time on the Blind Boys’ new CD, Down in New Orleans, a project the Blind Boys undertook to bring a positive post-Katrina message to New Orleans.

“We thought of songs that might uplift the spirit of the people,” says McKinnie. “We couldn’t come down with hammer and nail to help restore the city, but we can sing songs that would lift up a bowed-down head.”

For more on the Blind Boys, their new CD and tonight’s historic show, read this week’s Leadoff here , and click here for a video preview of the show. McKinnie has this to say for anyone planning to hear the Blind Boys tonight: “Just let the people know that if there’s anything in their life making them feel bad, they’re not going to leave our show feeling bad. We’re going to jazz it up with Dixieland and take it home with some down home gospel.