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The Word

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A blues/jam rock supergroup consisting of brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson, and Chris Chew (collectively, they formed North Mississippi Allstars), John Medeski (one-third of jazz-funksters Medeski, Martin & Wood), and gospel/pedal steel phenomenon Robert Randolph (of the famed Sacred Steel series on Arhoolie and his Family Band). Long a dream project of the Dickinsons and Medeski, the gospel album finally came to be with the inclusion of Randolph, a player whom the two had long admired and tried to seek out, though he, 22 years old and a law clerk by day, had recorded only one commercially available tune ("Without God," included on Sacred Steel Live). By the time Dickinson and Medeski tracked him down through Steve Earle sideman/producer Eric Roscoe Amble, Randolph had played only one non-church gig, at New York's famed Bowery Ballroom. Three days of jamming and recording in October 2000 at MMW's Brooklyn studio yielded The Word, released in July of the following year. The group toured briefly that summer in support of the album. Given how busy each of the collective’s various members subsequently became, they didn’t record a follow-up for 14 years. Soul Food, featured all the original members plus guest vocalists Ruthie Foster and Amy Helm, was released by Vanguard in May of 2015. ~ John Duffy

Years Active:

'00s, '10s