Paul Beasley, tenor for The Blind Boys of Alabama, has died at 78, a representative for the singer announced on Thursday (March 16). While a cause of death was not disclosed, the statement revealed that Beasley died on Monday, March 13.
Beasley spent years with Gospel Keynotes and the Mighty Clouds of Joy prior to joining the Blind Boys in 2013 after losing his sight. Known for his unique falsetto tone, Beasley first recorded with the Blind Boys on the group’s 2013 album, I’ll Find a Way, which was produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
After Beasley joined the group, the Blind Boys would go on to record four more albums: Talkin’ Christmas! with Taj Mahal, Almost Home, Work to Do with Marc Cohn and I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free with Bela Fleck. Talkin’ Christmas! peaked within the top 10 on the Top Gospel Albums chart at No. 9, and charted five spots higher at No. 4 on the Blues Albums chart. Work to Do peaked at No. 24 on the Independent Albums chart. During his time with the Blind Boys, Beasley earned a total of five Grammy nominations.
“In life there are some things that only come once, and the legacy and voice of Paul Beasley is one of those things. Thank God for him. He was often imitated, but never duplicated,” remaining Blind Boys members Ricky McKinnie, Jimmy Carter, Joey Williams, Rev. Julius Love and Sterling Glass said in a statement. “The Blind Boys have been friends and soulmates with Paul for many years. The memories that we shared are unsurpassed. Our deepest sympathy goes out to all of his family and friends. God bless you all.”