Photos and words by guest reviewer Andrew Markowitz.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard about Robert Randolph and the Family Band: I was at my grandmother’s retirement home reading a People Magazine while waiting to take her out for brunch. The magazine had a section dedicated to up and coming music stars and Robert Randolph was one of those listed. I can’t find the specific quote from the magazine but someone had asked Randolph -who had been trained on the pedal steel guitar as a member of a Pentecostal church- what it felt like to have the Lord in one hand and the Devil in the other when playing his instrument. Definitely intrigued, I went back to my dorm later that day and hopped on my computer to see what I could find.
I came away with a few live songs, some of which were featured on Randolph’s first CD “Live at the Wetlands” and an instrumental version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” that absolutely blew my mind. Jimi Hendrix still remains my favorite musical artist of all time, however Randolph definitely inspired a sense of awe that I felt when I first heard Hendrix. Randolph leads “The Family Band” and together they play a powerful combination of funk, blues, soul, and gospel music. I couldn’t stop listening to that Voodoo Chile mp3 for weeks and the other songs remained in my rotation for a long, long time.
I’ve never been able to see him in concert, however. Every time he’s been through the DC area, I’ve always had something else going on and been unable to see him. The thing that bothers me the most is that I don’t remember what else I had to do, but I definitely would have remembered seeing Robert Randolph in concert. So when I was offered photo pass and a chance to write a concert review of Robert Randolph’s October 29th show at the 9:30 Club, I jumped at the chance to go.