We Walk This Road (Deluxe Version) by Robert Randolph & The Family Band on Apple Music

20 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Robert Randolph hired T-Bone Burnett to produce his latest album and to educate Randolph on the secular blues music that he was never allowed to listen to as a child. Take Randolph and his Family Band’s instrumental prowess and throw it into the deep blues and you have an amazing combination. Randolph and his band are young men discovering a fresh new terrain, so whether it’s Blind Willie Johnson’s “If I Had My Way” sending Randolph to the Mississippi Delta with guest Ben Harper, or John Lennon’s “I Don’t Wanna Be a Soldier Mama,” with guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, it all comes out with a blistering intensity that’s hard to replicate. Prince’s “Walk Don’t Walk” has a restrained funk to its pop-friendly production. Bob Dylan’s “Shot of Love” sounds like the heavens opening with Randolph synching things up to his gospel roots. The originals, written with Burnett, fit in nicely alongside this roots exploration. “Dry Bones” is excellent modern electric blues. The deluxe version comes with three worthy bonus cuts that further drive home the fact that this is one serious collection of musicians likely to be with us for a very long time.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Robert Randolph hired T-Bone Burnett to produce his latest album and to educate Randolph on the secular blues music that he was never allowed to listen to as a child. Take Randolph and his Family Band’s instrumental prowess and throw it into the deep blues and you have an amazing combination. Randolph and his band are young men discovering a fresh new terrain, so whether it’s Blind Willie Johnson’s “If I Had My Way” sending Randolph to the Mississippi Delta with guest Ben Harper, or John Lennon’s “I Don’t Wanna Be a Soldier Mama,” with guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, it all comes out with a blistering intensity that’s hard to replicate. Prince’s “Walk Don’t Walk” has a restrained funk to its pop-friendly production. Bob Dylan’s “Shot of Love” sounds like the heavens opening with Randolph synching things up to his gospel roots. The originals, written with Burnett, fit in nicely alongside this roots exploration. “Dry Bones” is excellent modern electric blues. The deluxe version comes with three worthy bonus cuts that further drive home the fact that this is one serious collection of musicians likely to be with us for a very long time.

TITLE TIME
1 0:25
3:48
3 0:09
3:30
5:36
6:01
7 0:27
5:35
9 0:21
4:47
5:49
4:05
13 0:19
3:42
15 0:16
5:03
5:59
3:51
4:23
3:34

About Robert Randolph & The Family Band

A virtuoso on the pedal steel guitar, Robert Randolph jumped from spiritual to secular music and found an audience among blues fans, roots rock aficionados, and jam band followers with his fiery, passionate instrumental work and heartfelt music. Randolph started playing the instrument as a churchgoing teenager in Orange, New Jersey, a small city just outside of Newark. He regularly attended the House of God Church, an African-American Pentecostal denomination that had been including steel guitars (or "Sacred Steel") in services since the '30s, with the pedal steel in particular being introduced during the '70s. Randolph learned to play by watching other steel players during church services; years later, he updated that sacred basis with a secular mix of funk and soul, giving a new multicultural facelift to an instrument that had often been associated with country music.

In early 2000, Jim Markel heard Randolph play at the Sacred Steel Convention in Florida and subsequently introduced him to his friend Gary Waldman. Together, Waldman and Markel began to manage Randolph's career, which took flight after Matt Hickey, a talent buyer at Manhattan's Bowery Ballroom, signed Randolph on as the opening act for the North Mississippi Allstars. Within a month, Randolph had graduated to the Beacon Theater, where he played alongside Medeski, Martin & Wood. Keyboardist John Medeski enjoyed Randolph's playing so much that he asked him to record an instrumental gospel/blues album with the band. The resulting record, The Word, was released in August 2001 to great critical and popular acclaim.

Randolph next launched his own group, the Family Band, which included cousins Danyell Morgan and Marcus Randolph (bass and drums, respectively) and John Ginty (Hammond B-3 organ). The band's career began with opening gigs for a variety of blues, jazz-funk, and jam bands such as the Derek Trucks Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, and Soulive; headlining gigs became the norm within a few months' time. Robert Randolph & the Family Band released Live at the Wetlands in fall 2001, capturing the band's live performance at the legendary Wetlands venue shortly before it closed. The group's studio debut, Unclassified, followed in 2003 and introduced Randolph to an even wider audience. One new fan was veteran guitarist Eric Clapton, who brought the band out on tour and appeared on Randolph's third release, Colorblind, in 2006.

In 2010, Randolph teamed up with producer T-Bone Burnett and released the album We Walk This Road, which featured guest appearances from Ben Harper, Leon Russell, and Doyle Bramhall II. Randolph spent the better part of three years touring with the Family Band; they signed to Blue Note Records in the interim. Lickety Split appeared in 2013 with guests Trombone Shorty and Carlos Santana. After several more rounds of touring, including reuniting with John Medeski for more performances as the Word, Randolph and his band returned to the studio to cut their fifth studio album. Randolph's first album for Sony Masterworks, 2017's Got Soul included guest appearances from vocalist Darius Rucker, jazz and gospel keyboardist Cory Henry, and R&B singer Anthony Hamilton. ~ Ann Wickstrom

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