Robert Randolph & The Family Band have mixed a joyous gospel sound with a rock aesthetic that has wowed fans across the nation since their debut. Got Soul, their latest release, delivers a strong set of fresh material and shows the band is still finding new ways to improve on their formula.
Listen to the full Spotify stream below, and follow along with our album review.
The title track, “Got Soul,” kicks things off with thundering drums and wailing guitar peels, playing perfectly off the throbbing beat laid down by the impressive rhythm section. “She Got Soul” follows, answering the unasked question of who exactly has this soul, with electrifying results. “Love Do What It Do” drops down the tempo and spreads its arms wide to embrace the point where gospel and the blues intersect.
Randolph’s tone invokes a feeling of gravitas on every track of Got Soul, elevating the material to lofty realms. Songs like “Shake It” benefit from the power of his passion immensely. When the Family Band take on ZZ Top‘s “I Thank You” their revival flavored performance that enables Randolph to restrain himself, making each note all the more precious. When Randolph is finally unleashed on the solo he pushes the group effort over the top instead of seeking personal glory.
While the Family Band clearly have the faith, they aren’t blind. On “Be The Change,” they take a moment to look at the hypocrisy and unfairness of the way the world works. Randolph follows that with one of Got Soul‘s high points, a truly beautiful instrumental entitled “Heaven’s Calling.”
The final three songs convey the album’s themes as fully as any tracks on the album. “Travelin’ Cheeba Man” has a blistering momentum throughout the piece. “Lovesick” merges that break neck pace with a creative description of a universal sentiment. And finally, “Gonna Be Alright” summarizes and testifies as their message of hope gains an inescapable credence through repetition.
Though Got Soul would be a welcome addition to the Robert Randolph & The Family Band’s body of work whenever it was released, it seems especially fortunate that it comes when the world is so stressed. If ever there was a time when we needed a jolt of uplifting, transcendent music it is definitely now. The band did their part. Now it’s time for you folks to do yours and actually get soul! You will be glad you did!