Live Concert Photography: Funksgivin’ Jam at Brooklyn Bowl feat. Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Eric Krasno, Cory Henry, Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, Clyde and Gracie of Lawrence and Sweet Diezel Jenkins at Brooklyn Bowl 11/25/16
Renowned Orange, NJ-born and based pedal steel guitarist, singer/songwriter and frontman Robert Randolph can trace the origins of his music career to the House of God Church, where he played “sacred steel” gospel music with his cousins Marcus Randolph (drums), Ray Ray Randolph (bass) and his baby sister Lenesha Randolph. And as the story goes, Randolph along with his cousin and sisters grew up in an extremely cloistered existence in which they were unaware of any secular music. However, once Robert was out of his teens, he broke away from the confines of both his social and musical conditioning. and began exploring and devouring as much secular music as possible, discovering blues, funk, soul, jam band and jazz, which helped to influence the sound of the band he eventually began fronting with his family members, along with a series of collaborators and friends. But interestingly enough, Randolph also began to realize that the contemporary secular music he had begun playing were deeply connected — with everything influencing everything else. “All music is related. Gospel is the same as blues,” Randolph explains on his website. “The only thing that changes is in hardcore gospel people are singing about God and Jesus and in the blues people are singing about ‘my baby left me’ and whiskey. When we first started out, guys really weren’t allowed to leave the church. I was the one that stepped out and started this thing. My dad would say, ‘Why do you come home smelling like beer and cigarettes?’ ‘Well, we just got done playing some smoky club till 2 a.m.!’ It was all foreign and different.”
By the early 200s, Randolph and his immediate family members had begun playing secular music, with his steel pedal guitar and the band quickly developed a reputation across the area for their live shows, which unsurprisingly began to sell out clubs around town, including the now-defunct yet legendary Wetlands, where the band recorded their 2002 full-length debut Live at the Wetlands. Randolph and The Family Band then followed their debut with four full-length albums and another live album which broadened their audience and their profile, as well as regularly being featured on the summer festival circuit.
Over the last few years, Robert Randolph and The Family Band have made an annual Post-Thanksgiving Day stop at the JOVM unofficial home office, Brooklyn Bowl that’s known for its ridiculous list of special guests, who show up to jam with the acclaimed pedal steel guitarists and his family — with this year’s edition featuring guest spots from Eric Krasno, Cory Henry, Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, Clyde and Gracie of Lawrence and an opening set from Chicago‘s Sweet Diezel Jenkins. Check out photos below.
Developing a local and regional reputation as a member of Cyclone Temple, Znowhite and Rebels Without Applause, Chicago, IL-born and based guitarist Greg Fulton left his hometown for Memphis in pursuit of a new start and a new life. Ironically, as soon as he arrived in Memphis, Fulton as a musician and as a creature of habit wound up playing in many of his new hometown’s smoky bars and juke joints, when he met Simon Sunchess, a local record producer, who offered Fulton a record deal. Although intrigued, Fulton quickly realized that the record deal Sunchess was offering wasn’t all that it was cracked to be, and Fulton spent the rest of his time in Memphis dodging Sunchess.
Feeling homesick, Fulton returned to Chicago and as the story goes, as soon as he crossed into the city limits, he began making phone calls and began putting together his latest band Sweet Diezel Jenkins, a sort of blues and rock-based mashup cover band/tribute band that draws from an incredibly diverse range of artists, genres, styles and time periods as I came across during his opening set.
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskMkeCCe