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Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Robert Randolph
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Robert Randolph leads a multicultural American funk and soul band led by himself, pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph. Other band members include drummer Marcus Randolph, bass guitarist Danyel Morgan, vocalist Lenesha Randolph, and one of three rotating rhythm guitarists: Joey Williams of Blind Boys of Alabama, Adam Smirnoff "Shmeeans" , and Cousin Ray-Ray. Jason Crosby (keyboards and fiddle) is a former member.

Frontman Robert Randolph was trained as a pedal steel guitarist in the House of God Church and makes prominent use of the instrument in the band's music. Randolph, a native of Irvington, New Jersey, began playing the steel guitar in the House of God Church. The instrument is referred to in many African American Pentecostal churches as Sacred Steel. Randolph was discovered while playing at a sacred steel convention in Florida.
Randolph cites Stevie Ray Vaughan as a primary influence in his own technique and style. The group's sound is inspired by successful 1970s funk bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Sly & the Family Stone, another multicultural band composed of former members of the Church of God in Christ. Randolph himself has explained that in his adolescent years before his discovery by the secular community, he was almost completely unaware of non-religious music, saying "I never heard of the Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, none of them. I wasn’t into that music, only the church thing."

The first Robert Randolph & the Family Band album, Live at the Wetlands, was released in 2002, recorded live just prior to the club's closing. The band released their studio debut, Unclassified on August 5, 2003. They attracted the attention of Eric Clapton, and have subsequently toured as a supporting act with the English blues guitarist. Clapton also guested on their new album Colorblind on the track "Jesus Is Just Alright".

Before releasing albums with The Family Band, Randolph was selected by avant-jazz organist John Medeski to join him and the North Mississippi Allstars on their 2001 jam project, The Word. Just prior to the release of this album, Randolph was brought to the attention of some music fans through an enthusiastic review by Neil Strauss in the New York Times in April 2001. On that first non-church tour of the East Coast, the new band opened for the North Mississippi Allstars and then rejoined the musicians after their set, with Medeski, as The Word.

In September 2003 Randolph was listed as #97 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list. [2]

In 2002, they were hired by ABC to make the network's new NBA theme song. The song, "We Got Hoops", was only used for three telecasts, though it was used throughout both the NBA and WNBA seasons during promotions for both leagues.

In February 2004 Robert Randolph & the Family Band along with the band O.A.R. released a cover version of Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain", which was subsequently placed for purchase online in the iTunes Music Store. This version was played live with O.A.R. at their August 15, 2009 show at Madison Square Garden.

The third album, Colorblind, was released October 10, 2006. The song "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" was used in several commercials for NBC. In June 2008 the Discovery Channel used this same song in a popular promo entitled "It's All Good" for their summer lineup. The song "Thrill of It" was used throughout the 2007 college football season by ABC during their College Primetime games.

They are currently working on their fourth album with producer T-Bone Burnett. They released the first single from that album entitled Get There, which is the current Friday Night Knicks Theme Song.

Randolph's concerts are known for their lively stage performances, with Randolph content to let the rest of the band play on while he dances. Dance is an integral part of the concerts. During "Shake Your Hips", women are encouraged to dance onstage.

For the song "The March", Randolph leaves his instrument to instruct the crowd on how to properly perform the intricate dance move. In the band's earlier days, Randolph would temporarily stop the show if members of the audience were not dancing and appeared not to be enjoying themselves.

Other noteworthy concert regulars involve the entire band trading off instruments allowing the entire band to show off their musical proficiencies. When he becomes completely enthralled by his music, Randolph will kick the chair away from his pedal steel guitar and dance while he plays. A microphone is occasionally passed around the front row of the audience, so they can sing during the song "I Need More Love". Audience members are also called up on stage to sing ("Purple Haze") or be a guest guitarist for one song.

In 2004 Robert Randolph was the opening act on the Eric Clapton tour. Randolph & the Family Band also is featured prominently in the Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival 2004 DVD. The band also appears on Bonnaroo Music Festival DVDs. The length of the concerts can vary greatly depending on what songs are played (the band does not use a set list) and how long jams last. Concerts go over the allotted time if the band and the audience are having fun. Most concerts don't have an intermission; instead, band members will exit the stage leaving one or two members a chance to shine with solos. The one time the band does stop is so the band can relax, get hydrated, and plan the encore.

On January 24, 2007, Robert Randolph & the Family Band played in Dallas at Victory Plaza outside of the American Airlines Center as part of the 2007 NHL All Star game festivities. The band also played before the start of the 2007 NHL All-Star Game.

The Family Band has opened for Dave Matthews Band for some shows on their 2002-09 tours. In 2005 Robert Randolph appeared on the Dave Matthews Band release Weekend on the Rocks. Robert Randolph has performed as a guest during the Dave Matthews Band set on songs such as "All Along the Watchtower", "Louisiana Bayou", "Stand Up", "Smooth Rider", "You Might Die Trying", and "Two Step", among others.

In 2007, Robert Randolph & the Family Band played at the inaugural South Padre International Music Festival.

In 2008, Robert Randolph & the Family Band opened for Eric Clapton and was also one of four featured artists on the Music Builds Tour.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band played in Oxford, Mississippi on April 25, 2009 as part of the 14th annual Double Decker Arts Festival.

On Wednesday May 27, 2009 Robert Randolph and the Family Band opened for the Dave Matthews Band at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, just outside of Buffalo, New York.

On Saturday, August 15, 2009, Robert appeared live with O.A.R. at Madison Square Garden to play their collaborative 2004-cover of Led Zeppelin's "Fool In The Rain" Also, before that day on Thursday June 18 he sat in with O.A.R. for the first song of the encore which was their cover of "Fool In The Rain". He opened for them that night.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band will be performing November 1 as part of the festivities of the Voodoo Experience at City Park in New Orleans, LA.