The Joyful Sounds of Robert Randolph.

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Robert Randolph and the Family Band at Wakarusa 2006.

“Don’t let nobody take your joy away from you,” Robert Randolph enthusiastically shouts to the crowd in an intro to a 2002 live performance of “The March.” He has a point. It’s an important life lesson. Holding on to joy is what life is all about.

Robert Randolph is one of best pedal steel guitar players in the world. He began playing pedal steel in the House of God church in New Jersey. His live shows are filled with an energy that is unparalleled in today’s music scene. The joy he brings to his music is infectious.

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Robert Randolph and the Family Band at Crossroads KC (2014).

Live at the Wetlands remains one of my favorite albums of all time. The live album served as my introduction to jam bands. Randolph’s joyous passion comes through in his playing. His playing reminds me of some glorious gospel combination of the Allman Brothers Band and Sly and the Family Stone, but with Randolph’s own voice shining through all of the time.

I first saw Robert Randolph and the Family Band live at the City Market, in 2005, in Kansas City, Missouri. I have seen RRFB live 10 times over the years. His shows are loose and free flowing. No two sets are ever the same. I once saw Randolph play a three song mini-set and it was still 30 minutes long. Epic NOLA Randolph shows featured some of the most uplifting music I have ever heard.

I interviewed Robert Randolph in 2006. It was fascinating to see his positive viewpoint, “When we are in our great state of mind and we see somebody else stumbling along the way, feeling a little down, we can be able to pick them up and get their spirits up. Things like that are really important to me.”

Robert Randolph brings his joy to the world through music. When I go to a show, I want to see an artist doing what they love. Robert Randolph’s music connects with so many people because it comes from a real place. Let’s get to some of my favorite Robert Randolph live jams:

Here’s RRFB and Luther Dickinson (of the North Mississippi Allstars) playing “Squeeze.”

Robert Randolph and the Family Band “Run for Your Life.”

Robert Randolph and the Family Band “The March.”

Here’s Randolph, performing with gospel/jam super group the Word, doing a cover of the Lee Boys’ “Joyful Sounds.”

Robert Randolph and the Family Band “Nobody.”

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