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Robert Randolph Biography

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Birth Place: Orange, New Jersey, USA
Years Active: 2001 - Present
Genres: Funk, Soul, Jam, Gospel, Sacred Steel, Blues

Robert Randolph is an American pedal steel guitarist and frontman of the funk and soul band Robert Randolph & The Family Band. Other band members of Robert Randolph & The Family Band include drummer Marcus Randolph, bass guitarist Danyel Morgan, vocalist Lenesha Randolph, keyboardist and guitarist Brett Andrew Haas and one of three rotating rhythm guitarists: Joey Williams of Blind Boys of Alabama, Adam Smirnoff and Cousin Ray-Ray.Jason Crosby (keyboards and fiddle) and John Ginty (organ) are former members.

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.

Before releasing albums with The Family Band, Randolph was selected by avant-garde jazz organist John Medeski to join him and the North Mississippi Allstars on their 2001 jam project, The Word. Just prior to the 2001 release of The Word's debut self-titled album, Randolph was brought to the attention of music fans through an enthusiastic review by Neil Strauss in the “New York Times” in April 2001. On their first non-church tour of the East Coast, Randolph's new Family Band opened for the North Mississippi Allstars and then rejoined the musicians after their set, with Medeski, as The Word.

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

In February 2004 Robert Randolph & The Family Band along with the band O.A.R. released a cover version of Led Zeppelin's “Fool in the Rain.” Robert Randolph & The Family Band’s third album, “Colorblind,” was released in October 2006. Clapton guested on their cover of “Jesus Is Just Alright.”

They worked with producer T-Bone Burnett on their fourth studio album “We Walk This Road,” released in 2010. The record was a mixture of original material and covers, recorded as a collaborative effort between Randolph, Burnett, Tonio K., Peter Case, and other soul- and gospel-oriented songwriters.

Blue Note Records issued Robert Randolph & The Family Band’s fourth studio album, “Lickety Split,” in 2013. It featured guest contributions by Trombone Shorty, Eric Krasno, Jason Crosby, Bekka Bramlett and Carlos Santana.