Chattanooga Now Robert Randolph and the Family Band bring the jams to Revelry Room

Chattanooga Now Robert Randolph and the Family Band bring the jams to Revelry Room

Several shows lead up to the renowned pedal steel guitarist's performance Tuesday

September 21st, 2017 by Staff Report in Chattnow Music

Robert Randolph grew up playing pedal steel guitar in church. It wasn't until he was in his 20s that he discovered rock, funk and soul music. He and the family band released their seventh album, "Got Soul," in February.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› Where: Revelry Room, 41 Station St.

› For more information: 423-521-2929

Doors open one hour before all shows. Must be 18 or older with valid ID to enter.

› When: 9 p.m. today, Sept. 21

› Admission: $15

› When: 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22

› Admission: $10 in advance, $12 day of show

› When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23

› Admission: $15

› When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26

› Admission: $25 in advance, $28 day of show, $89 Experience VIP Got Soul Soundcheck

› When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27

› Admission: $17 in advance, $20 day of show

Many musicians claim that they grew up in the church, but for Robert Randolph that is literally the case.

The renowned pedal steel guitarist, vocalist and songwriter led such a cloistered childhood and adolescence that he heard no secular music while growing up. If it wasn't being played inside of the House of God Church in Orange, N.J., Randolph simply didn't know it existed.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that the leader of Robert Randolph and the Family Band is now an inspiration for the likes of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Derek Trucks, all of whom have played with him and studied his technique.

It also makes it all the more remarkable that Robert Randolph and Family Band is known for the lively stage performances they put on, in which dancing is an important part of the jam-band show. It's not uncommon for Randolph to let the rest of the band play while he busts a move. During "Shake Your Hips" he often encourages women to dance onstage.

Another show gimmick popular with fans involves the entire band trading instruments allowing each member to show off their musical skills.

Fans can see for themselves when Robert Randolph and the Family Band play Revelry Room at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26. Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas will open the show.

It wasn't until he was out of his teens that Randolph broke away from his social and musical confines and discovered rock, funk, soul, jazz and the jam-band scene, soon forging his own sound that combined elements of those genres. Once Randolph began to discover other forms of music, he saw how they all connected.

"All music is related. Gospel is the same as blues," he says. "The only thing that changes is in hardcore gospel people are singing about God and Jesus; in the blues, people are singing about 'My baby left me' and whiskey."

By the early 2000s, Randolph had begun applying his steel guitar technique to secular music. From that grew the Family Band. In addition to Randolph, the band included drummer Marcus Randolph, vocalist Lenesha Randolph, Ray Ray Randolph on bass and Brett Haas, guitar and keyboards.

The group's sound was so different from anything else at that time, that they were soon packing New York City clubs. Their first album, 2002's "Live at the Wetlands," was followed by four studio albums and another live set.

The band made its first television appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" in 2003. Rolling Stone named Randolph one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

The funk band's seventh album, "Got Soul," came out in February, their first on Sony Music Masterworks. Rolling Stone premiered the video for its single, "Love Do What It Do," featuring Darius Rucker. Shot in a pool hall, Rucker sings while Randolph plays — and everybody dances.