Robert Randolph and the Family Band Unite New With Old

I saw Robert Randolph and the Family Band open up for the Dave Matthews Band in 2007 in a large amphitheater, where the energy and skill of Robert Randolph was prevalant. As with many acts, he is much better in a smaller setting, like the Belly  Up, which he played on June 10th. The night turned into an old classic rock soulful dance party ignited by Randolph’s unique pedal steel guitar.

Randolph is considered one of the best pedal steel guitarists in the world, and he definitely did not disappoint at his San Diego show. His skill on this unique instrument was the catalyst for the band and for the dancing that ensues once the band begins playing. Although Randolph is the main focus of the group, he has an excellent backup band. His sister sings backup vocals and often takes the lead with a powerful, soulful voice reminiscent of classic funk singers of yesteryear. The drummer, Marcus Randolph, was more than able to match Robert Randolph’s ability on the pedal steel guitar with excellent rhythms and a few solos of his own.

The band paid tribute to their influences and today’s current hits by doing a version of the classic “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” mixed with Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” This song was reflective of a band who plays predominantly old school music in a society where pop songs are most prevalent. The creative dedication to a sound that is not normally heard anymore in 2010 is something to be respected. Randolph manages to bring a fresh take on the classic sounds of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Sly & the Family Stone and the Allman Brothers. Robert Randolph and the Family Band are one of the best and only links to the classic sounds of the ’70s. If you ever have a chance to see Robert Randolph, go for the history lesson or just for the great show.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band’s album, We Walk This Road, was released today on Warner Bros. Records. Check it out on iTunes.