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Robert Randolph Crow-ing About Summer Tour

Of the Oakland Press

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Coming from a Pentacostal background as he does, Grammy-nominated pedal steel guitar virtuoso Robert Randolph could potentially have trouble being on the road with a notoriously pot-championing band such as the Black Crowes.

But, he says, live and let live.

“People are just people — you know what I mean?” says Randolph, 28, who’s been winning critical acclaim since before the release of his 2003 debut album, “Unclassifi ed,” and has toured with Eric Clapton, the Dave Matthews Band and Santana, among others.

“You can’t take that from them; it’s what they are. But it’s been all cool here. I like to just get out and see other bands and see what they do, see what they’re about. I can’t worry about where anybody comes from; I can only do what I do.”

Randolph and his Family Band are getting ready to do more of that. The group has finished its sophomore album, “Color Blind,” which will be released this fall and features guest appearances by Clapton, Matthews and R&B singer Leela James. It also fi nds Randolph working with a number of producers, including

Daniel Lanois (U2, Peter Gabriel), Mark Batson (Matthes, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Gwen Stefani) and gospel artist Tommy Sims, who cowrote the Clapton hit “Change the World.”

“It feels like it’s almost been a decade” since “Unclassifi ed,” says Randolph, who’s planning a headlining tour in the fall to promote the album. “We did a lot of traveling and a lot of touring with different people, which was a big learning experience in itself.

“We just didn’t really have time to sit down and focus and get the vibe you need to make a record. So it took some time, but I’m really ready to get it out there.”

Robert Randolph & the Family Band perform with the Black Crowes and Drive-By Truckers at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw north of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $45 pavilion, $23 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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