Got Soul Robert Randolph & the Family Band
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- 1Got Soul03:31
- 2She Got Soul05:25
- 3Love Do What It Do03:39
- 4Shake It03:59
- 5I Thank You04:16
- 6Be the Change03:21
- 7Heaven's Calling01:58
- 8Find a Way03:56
- 9I Want It04:11
- 10Travelin' Cheeba Man03:24
- 12Gonna Be All Right04:23
Info for Got Soul
Often called the "Jimi Hendrix of the pedal steel guitar," and named one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" by Rolling Stone's David Fricke, Robert Randolph has, since the turn of the century, revolutionized the role of his chosen instrument.
One listen to Got Soul—the fifth studio album overall by this virtuosic player and the genre-busting Robert Randolph & The Family Band and first since 2013—reaffirms that they have truly evolved into one of the most exciting, innovative outfits in contemporary music.
Got Soul takes stock of his past as a church musician in New Jersey even as it pushes the band forward into new places. "The music takes me back into the roots of who I am, where I came from," says Robert Randolph. "It's got an upbeat, positive church/gospel/rock/bluesy vibe to it. I'm like a rock and roll preacher on Got Soul".
The name of the album, drawn from the title track and the song into which it segues, "She Got Soul," is Randolph's way of saying that we all need to reconnect with who we really are. "People like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, Elvis and the Stones, they were all in tune with their soul," Randolph says. "When you're digging deep in your soul, you can always find originality. People got soul everywhere."
There's certainly no shortage of originality on Got Soul. Produced by multiple Grammy awards nominee Matt Pierson, the 12-song set runs the gamut from the above-mentioned gospel-informed numbers to deep, funky grooves to incendiary rock-and-soul jams. The exquisite "Heaven's Calling" features Randolph on solo steel while guest vocalists Anthony Hamilton and Darius Rucker lend their golden pipes to "She Got Soul" and "Love Do What It Do", respectively. "I Thank You," the '60s Sam & Dave R&B smash, is completely reimagined in the hands of the Family Band and Snarky Puppy's very own Cory Henry.
"We just wanted something that was very raw and sounded good," says Randolph about Got Soul. There's absolutely no question that they got what they wanted.
Produced by Matt Pierson
A virtuoso on the pedal steel guitar, Robert Randolph set the music world on fire in 2000 when he began playing his first club dates in New York City. Randolph started playing the instrument as a church-going teenager in Orange, New Jersey, a small city just outside of Newark. He regularly attended the House of God Church, an African-American Pentecostal denomination that had been implementing steel guitars (or "Sacred Steel") in services since the '30s, with the pedal steel in particular being introduced during the '70s. Randolph learned to play by watching other steel players during church services; years later, he updated that sacred basis with a secular mix of funk and soul, giving a new multicultural facelift to an instrument that had often been associated with country music.
In early 2000, Jim Markel heard Randolph play at the Sacred Steel Convention in Florida and subsequently introduced him to his friend Gary Waldman. Together, Waldman and Markel began to manage Randolph's career, which took flight after Matt Hickey, a talent buyer at Manhattan's Bowery Ballroom, signed Randolph on as the opening act for the North Mississippi Allstars. Within a month, Randolph had graduated to the Beacon Theater, where he played alongside Medeski, Martin & Wood. Keyboardist John Medeski enjoyed Randolph's playing so much that he asked him to record an instrumental gospel/blues album with the band. The resulting record, The Word, was released in August 2001 to great critical and popular acclaim.
Randolph's own group, the Family Band, includes cousins Danyell Morgan and Marcus Randolph (bass and drums, respectively) and John Ginty (Hammond B-3 organ). The band's career began with opening gigs for a variety of blues, jazz-funk, and jam bands such as the Derek Trucks Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, and Soulive; headlining gigs became the norm within a few months' time. Robert Randolph & the Family Band released Live at the Wetlands in fall 2001, capturing the band's live performance at the legendary Wetlands venue shortly before it closed. The group's studio debut, Unclassified, followed in 2003 and introduced Randolph to an even wider audience. One new fan was veteran guitarist Eric Clapton, who brought the band out on tour and appeared on Robert Randolph's third release, Colorblind, in 2006. In 2010, Randolph teamed up with producer T-Bone Burnett and released the album We Walk This Road which featured guest appearances from Ben Harper, Leon Russell, and Doyle Bramhall II. Randolph spent the better part of three years touring with the Family Band; they signed to Blue Note Records in the interim. Lickety Split appeared in 2013 with guests Trombone Shorty and Carlos Santana. ~ Ann Wickstrom
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