Reviews

|

Live at the Wetlands

Soulful, bluesy rock jams
"Problems at my home, I've got to press on/Problems on my job, I've got to press on/When I'm down to my last dime, I've got to press on/When I don't have my friends, I've got to press on"
— from "Pressing My Way"

Listening to the six extended jam sessions on Live at the Wetlands has an electrifying, almost dizzying effect on listeners, but one that nonetheless sweeps away your cares and worries thanks to Robert Randolph's steel guitar mastery. Perhaps the album's inspiring elements are due in part to Randolph's Christian upbringing at the Pentecostal–based House of God Church in New Jersey where he not only grew in faith, but in steel guitar proficiency. "There's a long history of guys playing at my church, playing lap steels and pedal steels throughout the years," Randolph says. "It's one instrument that you would always see people play there, so I just felt like playing it."

The talented musician and his three equally impressive bandmates (who play drums, bass, and B–3 organ) have helped foster a new interest in the "sacred steel" movement — a fusing of gospel, country, and blues that is slowly finding a new audience. The unique and successful sound has afforded Robert Randolph and co. opportunities to back The Blind Boys of Alabama on their Higher Ground album, tour with John Mayer, and play at the final show in the now defunct New York club for which this disc was named. Throughout the album's 70 minutes of concert footage, the words are few and far between, with the majority of his musings steeped in instrumental jamming.

There are, however, some instances of sung dialogue, such as the aura of unconditional perseverance surrounding "Pressing My Way" (cited above). In addition to the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Posted:
September
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
close