There was a three-year gap between Robert Randolph & the Family Band’s Grammynominated 2003 release “Unclassified” and his latest set, “Colorblind.” But Randolph says it seemed even longer than that.
“I feel like it’s almost been a decade,” says the 28-year-old pedal steel whiz, who emerged from the Pentecostal Church of God earlier in the decade to light up the rock world with a crackling funky and soulful sound.
“When you tour with (Eric) Clapton and Santana, just those two alone took up a year’s time. So we just didn’t have time to sit down and focus on (the album). But we had a lot of time this year; even though we still played some shows, we could focus for three weeks at a time and get that vibe going.”
Randolph and company also got some help from their famous friends. Clapton appears on a rendition of “Jesus is Just Alright,” while Dave Matthews and his Dave Matthews Band saxophonist Leroi Moore jam on “Love is the Only Way” and R&B/blues singer Leela James steps out on “Stronger.”
“What’s been great about my whole ride is hanging out and getting to know these people,” says Randolph, who also worked with a number of highprofile producers and co-writers on “Colorblind.” “Just to have that opportunity to jam and to learn from so many of these different artists is a real gift.
“I’m lucky that I’ve made a lot of friends who come to the table with ideas; a lot of artists are usually on their own and don’t get to have that kind of thing. I like to see and listen to people, see what ideas they have. Not all of them are good, but you take what’s good and try to turn it into something for yourself.”
Robert Randolph & the Family Band and Rocco De Luca perform at 8 p.m. Saturday (November 11th) at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. The show has been moved from the Royal Oak Music Theatre, and all tickets will be honored. Tickets are $22.50. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.