Robert Randolph & The Family Band

DSP Shows

Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Luke Wade

Sun · April 23, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$25.00 - $30.00

Tickets Available at the Door

This event is 18 and over

Robert Randolph & The Family Band
Robert Randolph & The Family Band
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, New Jersey—quite often by Robert and members of his own family, who upheld a long but little known gospel music tradition called sacred steel—Randolph simply didn’t know it existed.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that the leader of Robert Randolph and the Family Band—whose label debut for Sony Masterworks, Got Soul, will be released on Feb. 17, 2017—is today an inspiration to the likes of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Derek Trucks, all of whom have played with him and studied his technique. It wasn’t until he was out of his teens that Randolph broke away from the confines of his social and musical conditioning and discovered rock, funk, soul, jazz and the jam band scene, soon forging his own sound by fusing elements of those genres.

“It was all church music. It was a movement within our church and that’s all we used to do,” says Randolph of the sacred steel music he played at the time, music whose association with his church stretches back to the 1920s. Once Randolph began to discover other forms of music, he saw how they were all connected, and was eager to find his own place. “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 and in the blues people are singing about ‘my baby left me’ and whiskey. When we first started out, guys really weren’t allowed to leave the church. I was the one that stepped out and started this thing. My dad would say, ‘Why do you come home smelling like beer and cigarettes?’ ‘Well, we just got done playing some smoky club till 2 a.m.!’ It was all foreign and different.”

By the early 2000s, Randolph had begun applying his dazzling steel guitar technique to secular music, and from that grew the Family Band. The group’s sound was so different than anything else around that they were soon packing New York City clubs. Their first album, 2002’s Live at the Wetlands, was recorded at the now defunct jam band haven, and was followed by four studio albums and another live set, each widening the band’s audience—they’ve long been regulars on the festival circuit—and broadening their stylistic range as well.

“Things happened really fast,” Randolph says now. “When I look back on that time, to be honest, I had no idea what the hell we were doing. We’d get told, ‘You guys are going on tour with Eric Clapton.’ ‘Oh, OK.’ I thought, this guy must not have a clue who I am but the first time I met him we talked for about an hour and played music backstage.”

The Family Band’s improvisational skills quickly made them mega-popular among the jam-band crowd, but for Randolph and his band mates, what they were doing was just an extension of what they’d always done. “The jam band scene has that name but it’s really a true music art form scene where you can just be who you are,” Randolph says. “We fit in that category in some sense but the jam band scene itself has changed a lot since that time. I’ve grown to like songs and I like to jam within the song.”

On Got Soul, Robert Randolph and the Family Band walk that line deftly, displaying their virtuosity within the context of a dozen smartly crafted tunes. “I like both playing live and recording,” says Randolph. “The thing about a record is you get a chance to rehearse parts and fine-tune things. But if you look at most great music artists—people like Stevie Wonder—the song is totally different from the show. When you’re in the studio, it’s hard to improvise without an audience. But for us, well, we’ve been playing in front of audiences our whole lives.”
Luke Wade
Growing up on Hurt Street in a sultry little Texas town might seem an auspicious beginning for a soul singer. But for Dublin's Luke Wade, it's hard to imagine that it would be anything short of destiny.

Born of extraordinary artists and self-described 'Hippies', Luke is the product of a home that truly cultivated creativity. The youngest of four children, his music is the modern manifestation of the introspective and enlightened notions instilled by his parents. Bob and Wanda spawned a self- awareness that makes Luke's music inherently reflective, without need of gimmick or novelty. His insightful and thoughtful lyrics make it easy to imagine that if Hurt Street were located in some distant galaxy, this is still the music he would create.

An unlikely series of childhood ailments provided Luke with an early sense of perspective that many never find even as adults. A bout of spinal meningitis proved almost fatal, a paintball accident left him blind in one eye and some years later a severe heatstroke left him struggling to overcome temporary brain damage and amnesia. And though these experiences inevitably influence his music, it is not in the fatalistic way you might expect. While his songs may have that soulful 'written on the porch because the house was too damned hot' feel, the end result is a style that feels ever hopeful.

It is but a few times in a generation that an artist comes along with the potential to reflect so honestly the human condition. Such a calling requires a humility and self-awareness that seldom find an artist until late in his career, when he's turned the corner from idealistic to philosophical. Often young singer-songwriters aspire to draw a picture with words, a melodic expression of the visual, hoping to capture a single meaningful moment in time. Luke aspires to capture our journey through it - and his sophomore album, "The River", speaks to a brilliant departure on that journey.

The spring release of "The River" and a swell of media coverage have prompted renewed comparison to the likes of Ray LaMontagne. Each stylistically unique, Luke surrounds himself with exceptional musicians and remains keenly aware as to his place in the musical equation. His incomparable musicality requires more of the accompaniment than just support of the lyric, he allows it to build a distinctive setting in which to tell his story. When performing with his full band, Luke's boisterous horn section and soulful voice are the perfect paring of audacity and nuance.

Luke's writing is always honest and never self-indulgent, creating music that feels as much a part of the listener as the artist. His 'damaged in transport but absolutely delivered' charm has endeared him to his audience and encouraged a rabid following wherever he performs. Instinctively, Luke seems to realize that his success is always secondary to the song, resulting in a refreshing vulnerability that you couldn't touch with a ten foot pole.

Music is at once frivolous and necessary. That rare artist willing to embrace this idea will become timeless, making the music that comes to describe generations and cultures, not simply as historical narrative, but as a conscious identity by which we willingly choose to define ourselves in real time.

Meet Luke Wade.
Venue Information:
The Haunt
702 Willow Ave
Ithaca, NY, 14850
http://thehaunt.com/