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ROBERT RANDOLPH AND THE FAMILY BAND

Robert Randolph and the Family Band

Origin Orange, New Jersey, United States
Genres Funk, soul, jam, gospel
Years active 2001–present

Robert Randolph and the Family Band is an American funk and soul band led by pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph (Robert Jermaine Randolph, born August 8, 1977, Irvington, New Jersey). Other band members include drummer Marcus Randolph, vocalist Lenesha Randolph and Ray Ray Randolph (bass, guitar). Danyel Morgan (bass), Jason Crosby (keyboards and fiddle), Brett Haas (guitar and keyboards) and John Ginty (organ) are former members. Rolling Stone included Robert on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. The band also plays before every Friday-night New York Knicks basketball game.

Frontman Robert Randolph was trained as a pedal steel guitarist in the House of God Church and makes prominent use of the instrument in the band’s music. The instrument is referred to in many African-American Pentecostal churches as “sacred steel”. Randolph was discovered while playing at a sacred steel convention in Florida.

The group’s sound is inspired by successful 1970s funk bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Sly & the Family Stone. Randolph himself has explained that in his adolescent years before being discovered by the secular community, he was almost completely unaware of non-religious music, saying “I never heard of The Allman Brothers Band, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, none of them. I wasn’t into that music, only the church thing.”

The first Robert Randolph and the Family Band album, Live at the Wetlands, was released in 2002 on Family Band Records, recorded live on August 23, 2001, just prior to the club’s closing. The band released their studio debut, Unclassified on August 5, 2003. They attracted the attention of Eric Clapton, and have subsequently toured as a supporting act with the English blues guitarist. Clapton later guested on their 2006 album Colorblind, playing on a cover of “Jesus Is Just Alright”.

In February 2004 Robert Randolph and the Family Band along with the band O.A.R. released a cover version of Led Zeppelin’s “Fool in the Rain”, which was made available for online purchase through iTunes. This version was played live with O.A.R. at their August 15, 2009 show at Madison Square Garden.

Above: Robert Randolph and Eric Clapton performing “Got My Mojo Working” at Cuyahoga Falls, May 31, 2008

In 2007, Robert Randolph and the Family Band played at the inaugural South Padre International Music Festival. In 2008, they opened for Eric Clapton and were also one of four featured artists on the Music Builds Tour. Robert Randolph and the Family Band played in Oxford, Mississippi on April 25, 2009 as part of the 14th annual Double Decker Arts Festival. In 2009 Randolph also sat in on two live performances of Led Zeppelin’s “Fool In The Rain” with the band O.A.R.

Also, on June 22, 2014, Robert Randolph and the Family Band played at the TD Toronto Jazz Fest, welcoming a new “cousin” Andrew Prince to the stage for two songs.

Above: Randolph in 2016

Discography

Albums

2002: Live at the Wetlands
2003: Unclassified (U.S. No. 145)
2006: Colorblind (U.S. No. 75)
2010: We Walk This Road (U.S. No. 74)
2011: Live in Concert
2013: Lickety Split
2017: Got Soul

Guest appearances on albums

2001: “Garden of Love” and “]Opportunity” – Demolition String Band on Pulling Up Atlantis
2002: “Cissy Strut”, “Ruler of My Heart” and “Tell It Like It Is” – Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Medicated Magic
2004: “Mas Y Mas” – Los Lobos on Live at the Fillmore (DVD version)
2004: “The Good Life” – Rachael Lampa on Rachael Lampa
2005: “Crosstown Traffic” – Soulive on Break Out
2005: “Exodus” and “Louisiana Bayou” – Dave Matthews Band on Complete Weekend on the Rocks
2005: “I Am an Illusion” – Rob Thomas on …Something to Be
2005: “I Want to Take You Higher” – Sly & The Family Stone on Different Strokes by Different Folks
2005: “Lay Lady Lay” – Buddy Guy on Bring ‘Em In
2005: “Mission Temple Fireworks Stand” – Sawyer Brown on Mission Temple Fireworks Stand
2005: “Oh My Lord” – Ringo Starr on Choose Love
2005: “Trinity” – Santana and Kirk Hammett of Metallica on All That I Am
2005: “21st Century Schizoid Man” – Ozzy Osbourne on Under Cover
2008: “Otherside” – Third Day on Revelation
2008: “Out in the Woods” and “That’s My Home” – Buddy Guy on Skin Deep
2008: “Train’s A Comin'” – JD & The Straight Shot on Right On Time
2010: “There’s No Tomorrow” – Elton John & Leon Russell on The Union
2011: “Straight Down the Line” – Robbie Robertson on “How to Become Clairvoyant”

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