In the back room of a small house in Kirkwood, Ricky McKinnie sits in front of a row of Grammy trophies.
The five awards, received between 2001 and 2008, are offset by one other Grammy, the special one bestowed upon the Blind Boys of Alabama in 2009.
“How many people have a Lifetime Achievement Grammy?” asks McKinnie’s brother, Chuck Shivers, the tour manager of one of the most unique groups in music history.
Indeed, the Blind Boys of Alabama, a collaboration that originated at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, has witnessed a rotating cast of members during its tenure, released more than 50 gospel-soul albums and worked with artists ranging from Tom Petty to Bonnie Raitt to Peter Gabriel to Al Green, for whom they’ll open Friday at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.
For the past 22 years, McKinnie has been an official member, but, in a