By Liz Tracy
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By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
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Judging by the mesmerized white faces staring at the Lee Boys on-stage during their Langerado set, witnessing a live sacred steel performance isn't going to fade from these kids' memories anytime soon.
When the topic of Robert Randolph comes up, one can't help but notice a small level of tension. It was Randolph who came knocking, asking for the secrets of Southern pedal steel that he couldn't learn on his own in New Jersey, and it's Randolph who has garnered Grammy nominations and acclaim while his mentors still struggle for recognition in their own state.
Whereas the NM Allstars at least ask the Lee Boys to sit in on their sets, Randolph's management has the opposite approach, repeatedly denying the Lee Boys an opportunity to simply open for Randolph at his concerts.
"I guess they don't want any other sacred steel performers at his shows," Alvin offers half-heartedly. But then he perks up. "See, our music is still gospel. We're not changing the words for anybody. We don't hold any animosity towards Robert. He opened a lot of doors for us but our music is gospel and we're proud to share that with people."
What Alvin didn't say was that, while the Lee Boys' music is true gospel, Randolph's mainstream tunes have strayed from the path, but that message was clearly implied.
Alvin is proud to be bringing together local pedal steel players from across South Florida this weekend for a special one-time jam. Aubrey Ghent's son A.J. will be there, and a host of other top-notch pedal steel performers will sit in with the Lee Boys as well. Alvin considers it an all-star occasion.
"There are some dynamite steel players down here, and this show is going to be a lot of fun for folks that want to experience this music."