This was the last SMA Music in the Zoo show for 2015. Robert Randolph & the Family Band & Ben Miller played to a warm night & anxious fans. If you are not familiar with Robert his signature pedal steel guitar sounds more like Jimmy Hendrix than the twang of country western. His gospel influence started when he spent countless hours praying & practicing in the House of God Church in New Jersey. In an NPR interview he talked about “sacred steel” this was the pedal steel guitar used in early gospel music.
Many of the churches in the early 1900’s could not afford an organ so they improvised with a pedal steel guitar which ends up creating a different flavor in gospel music – Robert has taken this instrument way beyond the weeping, rhythmic sound we hear in typical country pedal steel. He is a gracious artist allowing fans on stage to prove again that white folk can’t dance.