Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Randolph is an unlikely rock guitar hero, playing pedal steel and coming out of the Gospel Sacred Steel tradition. In concert, he can s-t-r-e-t-c-h out, but here the focus is on songs rather than jamming. “Amped Up” sounds like a lost Hendrix rocker, and the title track has a funky “Walk This Way” vibe. “New Orleans” alternates sultry and hard-hitting sections, followed by Trombone Shorty adding to the second-line of “Take the Party.” “Brand New Wayo” adds Carlos Santana’s unmistakably searing playing to the mix. The band goes back to church on “Get Ready,” but the mood turns somber and respectful in a tribute to returning veterans, “Welcome Home.” Two covers, the Ohio Players’ “Love Rollercoaster” and the Rascals’ “Good Lovin’,” are sheer fun. This album enthusiastically bursts at the seams without going overboard.