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Robert Randolph's Sacred Steel In A Secular World


Robert Randolph's career as a musician began by playing gospel music at the House of God church in Orange, New Jersey.  He plays pedal steel guitar, and many African-American Pentecostal churches refer to the instrument as "sacred steel."  In time, Randolph took his joyous music (inspired by bands like Earth, Wind & Fire and Sly & The Family Stone) out to clubs.  Robert Randolph and the Family Band includes members of his family that share the same background.

The Family Band features two of Randolph's cousins, bassist Danyel Morgan and drummer Marcus Randolph.  Robert Randolph's sister Lenesha Randolph joins him on vocals.  It's important to the leader that his audiences know this is a real family band.  They've been with him since the first studio album in 2003.

The new record is "Brighter Days."  While there are a couple of churchy ballads included, there are also some funky rockers.  Randolph is not preaching to the choir, but rather sending forth a positive vibe into the world.  He explains:  "When you think about Stax music and a lot of music from the '70s, especially like the Staples Singers, it was inspirational and you danced and had a good time.  That's what we really wanted to hone in on here...have a natural good time that will bring listeners along."   

Mark Simmet is a Senior Producer and Studio One Host