For those who like their sacred steel music a little less sacred, Robert Randolph and the Family Band’s latest is a revelation.
Fusing the energy of a black church revival meeting with the Joe six-pack accessibility of blues-rock, the album is a joyous commercial slam-dunk. Randolph’s debut on Sony Music Masterworks and his fifth album overall, gets the royal treatment with vibrant production, inspired musicality, and special guests.
Powerful songs and performances are offset by contributions from musical heavyweights. R&B crooner Anthony Hamilton belts on “She Got Soul,” while Darius Rucker adds his smooth country essence on “Love Do What It Do.” The Sam & Dave hit “I Thank You” gets a complete beauty makeover with the assistance of Snarky Puppy keyboard wiz Cory Henry.
Randolph is the lynchpin throughout, napalming the record with incendiary pedal steel assaults of sanctified soul, depth, and mastery. He’s an American treasure. Highlights include “Find A Way,” the instrumental “Travelin’ Cheeba Man,” and Randolph’s uplifting solo spot “Heaven’s Calling.”
Producer Matt Pierson and Randolph get kudos for creating a musically rich, satisfying, well-rounded record with thematic peaks and valleys.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’17 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.