Family of musicians to headline free concert in Steamboat Springs
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What: Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series: Robert Randolph and the Family Band
When: Opener Bill Smith begins at 5:30 p.m., main act to follow at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 30
Where: Howelsen Hill
A buzz of music, Robert Randolph explained, was hidden inside his New Jersey church for close to 60 or 70 years before he and others were discovered. The church band was known for its pedal skills, and guitar was the lead instrument, so it is no surprise that Randolph eventually picked up the pedal steel guitar.
“We started playing music in church and had a big musical family,” Randolph said.
“I grew up playing the drums in church and then I switched to the pedal steel guitar around 15 or 16 years old,” Randolph said. “I wanted to learn to play the pedal guitar. In my church it was just one of those things you just sort of gravitated toward, and I guess that sort of led me into this whole secular world of music.”
Robert Randolph and the Family Band will make their way to the Yampa Valley Saturday, July 30 as part of the Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series. Randolph brings with him, cousin and drummer Marcus Randolph, cousin and bass player Stevie Ray Ladson, cousin and key player Kasey Square and legendary guitar player Paul Pesco.
“There aren’t too many front men in bands or leaders in a band that play the electric steel the way he plays it, with so much high energy, with funk and soul,” said John Waldman of Great Knight Productions. “That’s what makes this show so unique. Robert Randolph is a very unique artist.”
After playing in a variety of different clubs in New York, Randolph’s career took flight between 2002 and 2003, and although the band has been evolving ever since then, family has always been integral to its success. This weekend’s performance will showcase five members of the band, but there are times when up to seven family members have been featured.
“We’ve got a lot of great songs, and a lot of the songs are really uplifting, it makes you happy, it makes you dance,” said Randolph of a new record the band just recorded that will drop in October.
“We want to bring love, positivity, get everybody happy, dancin’, you know, let people hear some of the new songs, and just really have a day to kind of unwind,” Randolph said. “Some of the time people get caught up in all of the politics that are happening now and people look at the news and still see how much hate there is out there.
“You know, years ago, all of the mainstream music artists kind of contributed to more love and more happiness and less divisiveness and less hatred and less racism,” which is what Randolph said he hopes his music can bring to the industry today.
In 2010, Randolph was voted by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 100 guitarist of all time. Not only is Randolph stellar on the steel pedal guitar, but he also brings an infectious energy to the stage. With a mixture of rock ‘n’ roll, funk, gospel and blues, the concert is sure to get people dancing.
Original songs from multiple albums will be featured as well as a few potential covers.
“I’m always looking to put a smile on people’s faces,” Randolph said. “There’s no hate, just love and such a good vibe.”
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