By Reneé Ruwe
WOODSTOCK - It was a party-like atmosphere at the Bearsville Theater recently when Robert Randolph and The Family Band came to town.
Robert and his band - which includes his brother, drummer Marcus Randolph, and his cousin, bassist Danyel Morgan - brought an intense energy to the stage as they played their special blend of gospel, blues and rock. The group mixed in original songs to go along with covers of Jimi Hendrix, The Staple Singers, Stevie Ray Vaughn and more.
An integral part of the group’s performances is dance, when Robert gets up off his pedal steel guitar and dances, encouraging all the ladies to come on stage and dance to "Shake Your Hips". This performance was no different and the dancing proved to be an exciting and entertaining part of the show.
The band was formed in 2000 in their hometown of Orange, NJ. They are frequently performing at various festivals around the United States. They have also been seen on Late Night with David Letterman. In 2002, the band wrote and performed "We Got Hoops" for ABC’s NBA telecasts.
Robert Randolph grew up in The House of God Church where he was a pedal steel guitarist (Sacred Steel). Robert lists Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Earth Wind and Fire, and Sly and The Family Stone as his popular music influences. In 2003, Randolph was listed at #97 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
The group’s Warner Bros. album, We Walk This Road, celebrates 100 years of African American music. Robert has said of the album, "The songs included in We Walk This Road remain the message of hope, and ability to uplift."