Robert Randolph Recording With T-Bone Burnett
Currently on a summer jaunt opening for Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph tells Billboard.com there are plenty of new albums and tours in his mix.Currently on a summer jaunt opening for Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph tells Billboard.com there are plenty of new albums and tours in his mix.
First is the follow-up release to Randolph's 2006 effort "Colorblind." However, unlike his star-studded last album, the new disc -- which is produced by T-Bone Burnett, currently untitled and due out in September -- finds Randolph both figuratively and literally embracing his roots.
"We really always wanted to work with T-Bone, whose idea was just go back and try to get the roots of where we come from -- to try to do something really original that sounds good and sounds big and sounds energetic," Randolph says.
"So that's what we tried to accomplish, and by him hanging around Bob Dylan and doing the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss record, he just wanted to do something with me that people will look at as the kind of career-defining recording," he adds.
Among the new tracks already receiving stage time are the Sly &tThe Family Stone-esque "I'm Not Listening" and the gospel-tinged slow shuffle "I Still Belong." In addition, studio musician Doyle Bramhall contributes to the album, playing on a cover of John Lennon's "I Don't Want To Be a Soldier." The disc also features the Sacred Steel Tradition outfit from Randolph's New Jersey hometown House of God Church.
"I was able to pull in some of the older guys from my church," Randolph says. "That's where I got my pedal steel, lap steel playing from. So we kind of created this sort of 'Buena Vista Social Club' and 'O Brother, Where Art Thou' record."
Randolph, who is joining the late summer/early fall Music Builds tour with contemporary Christian artists Third Day, Switchfoot and Jars Of Clay, says he's enjoying his second go around as a Clapton opener.
Not only is he jamming with Slowhand on a nightly basis, but the two have discussed once again working together in the studio. While Clapton appeared on "Colorblind" for a cover of "Jesus Is Just Alright," it appears Randolph will be paying back the favor on the next Clapton studio effort.
Randolph says, "(Clapton) told me he's going back in the studio at the end of this year and he said he wants me to come in when he starts recording his record."