Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Many musicians claim that they “grew up in the church,” but for Robert Randolph that is literally the case. The renowned pedal steel guitarist, vocalist and songwriter led such a cloistered childhood and adolescence that he heard no secular music while growing up. If it wasn’t being played inside of the House of God Church in Orange, New Jersey—quite often by Robert and members of his own family, who upheld a long but little known gospel music tradition called sacred steel—Randolph simply didn’t know it existed.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that the leader of Robert Randolph and the Family Band—whose label debut for Sony Masterworks, Got Soul, will be released on Feb. 17, 2017—is today an inspiration to the likes of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Derek Trucks, all of whom have played with him and studied his technique. It wasn’t until he was out of his teens that Randolph broke away from the confines of his social and musical conditioning and discovered rock, funk, soul, jazz and the jam band scene, soon forging his own sound by fusing elements of those genres.

“It was all church music. It was a movement within our church and that’s all we used to do,” says Randolph of the sacred steel music he played at the time, music whose association with his church stretches back to the 1920s. Once Randolph began to discover other forms of music, he saw how they were all connected, and was eager to find his own place. “All music is related. Gospel is the same as blues,” he says. “The only thing that changes is in hardcore gospel people are singing about God and Jesus and in the blues people are singing about ‘my baby left me’ and whiskey. When we first started out, guys really weren’t allowed to leave the church. I was the one that stepped out and started this thing. My dad would say, ‘Why do you come home smelling like beer and cigarettes?’ ‘Well, we just got done playing some smoky club till 2 a.m.!’ It was all foreign and different.”

By the early 2000s, Randolph had begun applying his dazzling steel guitar technique to secular music, and from that grew the Family Band. The group’s sound was so different than anything else around that they were soon packing New York City clubs. Their first album, 2002’s Live at the Wetlands, was recorded at the now defunct jam band haven, and was followed by four studio albums and another live set, each widening the band’s audience—they’ve long been regulars on the festival circuit—and broadening their stylistic range as well.

“Things happened really fast,” Randolph says now. “When I look back on that time, to be honest, I had no idea what the hell we were doing. We’d get told, ‘You guys are going on tour with Eric Clapton.’ ‘Oh, OK.’ I thought, this guy must not have a clue who I am but the first time I met him we talked for about an hour and played music backstage.”

The Family Band’s improvisational skills quickly made them mega-popular among the jam-band crowd, but for Randolph and his band mates, what they were doing was just an extension of what they’d always done. “The jam band scene has that name but it’s really a true music art form scene where you can just be who you are,” Randolph says. “We fit in that category in some sense but the jam band scene itself has changed a lot since that time. I’ve grown to like songs and I like to jam within the song.”

On Got Soul, Robert Randolph and the Family Band walk that line deftly, displaying their virtuosity within the context of a dozen smartly crafted tunes. “I like both playing live and recording,” says Randolph. “The thing about a record is you get a chance to rehearse parts and fine-tune things. But if you look at most great music artists—people like Stevie Wonder—the song is totally different from the show. When you’re in the studio, it’s hard to improvise without an audience. But for us, well, we’ve been playing in front of audiences our whole lives.”

Leroy Justice

LEROY JUSTICE has "soul, style and chops to match any up-and-coming band in America," says Hittin' the Note, official magazine of The Allman Brothers. Having shared stages with members of the Black Crowes, North Mississippi Allstars, the Derek Trucks Band, and many others, the RELIX Magazine 2010 Readers Poll Winners have brought their "ferocious live show" to Warren Haynes' 2011 Christmas Jam and 2011 Mountain Jam, moe.'s 2011 Summer Camp and 2010 Snoe.down, and the 2010 Gathering of the Vibes. The year ahead kicks off with a Saturday night headline at Brooklyn Bowl featuring special guests (2/4), a Colorado Winter Tour, and a return to Austin's SXSW. Tracks from both of the band's albums have appeared in prime time network television programming.

ADVANCE: $45/$30 DAY OF SHOW: $45/$35

Tickets

Robert Randolph is dynamite on the pedal steel guitar, and together with The Family Band, will perform an explosive show. Comprised up of some of Randolph’s true family members, Robert Randolph & The Family Band create a unique sound that demands attention from audiences. Their show at The Cap features special guests Eric Krasno (Soulive, Lettuce), Papa Mali (7 Walkers), and legendary saxman Bobby Keys (The Rolling Stones). Their performances will be high energy, unforgettable, and filled with joy. Get ready to shake your hips!
This show has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 23rd. All tickets purchased for the original date (August 10th, 2013) will be honored at new date.
SEATING INFORMATION: This event will have a general admission standing room only floor and a reserved seated Loge and Balcony. Reserved Loge and Balcony tickets will NOT have access to the general admission floor.

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