Robert Randolph | Music Previews | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Robert Randolph

When it comes to making sacred steel music, folks here in Florida take the genre seriously. If you're not familiar with sacred steel, its main instruments are pedal and lap steel guitar (which are played while sitting down) and it's typically associated with gospel and Southern-style rock. It's soulful and spiritual, and it's funky enough to make crippled folks get out of wheelchairs and dance! The roots of sacred steel and the House of God church where the music originates from has a core contingency of members in Florida, and folks here can sense a knockoff act in a heartbeat. Thankfully, Robert Randolph and the Family band are no knockoffs. They're as much the real deal as this style of music requires and are probably the most famous practitioners of the genre. The band got its start, like all sacred steel acts, in the church, and you can hear that gospel tinge in all their compositions. They've since ventured toward secular territory (catching some flak along the way) and are making the music more popular than it's ever been. Case in point, the band was on the David Letterman show a few years ago, and it's that exposure and anointing which makes the band so fun to watch. They're in town with Slow Hand himself, Eric Clapton, who hand-picked the band to open for him across the U.S. That's a pretty lucrative gig, and, unfortunately, you're going to have to fork over a C-note just to get inside. But you get what you pay for, and this is a show worth every penny. An added bonus is that Robert Randolph was scheduled to play Langerado this year but had to cancel at the last minute. So if you want to check out an amazing display of guitar wizardry, hit the Hard Rock and see two of the best practicing their craft.

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Jonathan Cunningham

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