If anyone should know about pushing beyond what you think is possible, it’s Jimmy Carter.

At age 87, he’s the lone surviving original member of the Blind Boys of Alabama. He was the only blind son of six kids and was taken away from his family to be put into the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. School life created strong, family-like relationships, but it was music that formed lasting bonds of friendship.

These men were raised as blind African-Americans in the Deep South during the Jim Crow years, and they were sent to school where the expectation for them was to one day make brooms or mops for a living. But in 1939, George Scott, Jimmy Carter, Clarence Fountain and several other classmates began playing and singing together at churches and schools in the Talladega area. And in June of 1944, the group decided to leave school and strike out on their own to see if they could make a living doing what they enjoyed most — making music.

It was wartime in the segregated South, but these young men — filled with faith, spirit, talent and determination — set out to prove something to themselves and the world.

Their career has spanned 80 years and 64 albums. It’s almost unbelievable that a group of blind African-American singers who started out touring during a time of whites-only bathrooms, restaurants and hotels went on to win five Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award, to be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and to perform at the White House for three different U.S. presidents.

Ahead of the group’s recent concert in Toronto, Jimmy Carter joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen for a conversation.

Scroll to the bottom if you’d like to listen to the full audio of the interview.