the word is a
jamband supergroup made up of john medeski, robert randolph, and the north mississippi allstars (cody and luther dickinson and chris chew). they’ve only released one studio album, self titled, about 14 years ago and besides the occassional jamcruise or festival appearance, they rarely tour.
without getting into too much detail, they essentially play gospel instrumental songs, updated with a modern take. robert randolph is the foundation of both the musicians and the music itself, as he’d been playing these types of songs on the “sacred steel” since he was young. although i did read that john medeski once said that one of the most influential albums he listened to growing up was billy preston’s “gospel in my soul,” which is astounding in its own right.
i’ve only seen them perform once, at the webster theatre in hartford the day after christmas 2007, and it is easily one of the best music experiences of my entire life. they played two raging sets and an encore over the course of two and a half hours, playing both songs from the album and a variety of covers with their unique spin on them.
i even met sportscenter anchor neil everett while my friends and i were waiting in line, and he’s been my favorite espn guy since then. not too surprising, since he’s been dropping grateful dead references on sportscenter for as long as i can remember.
for this post, i was hoping to link my favorite song, at the cross, but this is the only one i could find, and it’s called joyful sounds:
i don’t usually tell people to buy albums anymore because i’m just as guilty as everyone else when it comes to “borrowing” music, but this is an album where if you like the song i included up top then i guarantee you will love the rest of the songs on there.
and if for some reason you don’t, i will purchase it back from you so i can give it to someone with a
soul, and general intelligence more similar taste in music.
non-update update: had this post written a few weeks ago and wanted to wait until the spring to post it since i’d read about the possibility of them getting together for another mini tour, but i just saw on rolling stone that they band is releasing their second studio album this may and it will be called soul food.
i cannot tell you how excited i am about this. i’ve listened to their self-titled album hundreds of times and have tried to push it on dozens of people whom i thought might like it, never really thinking that they would record together again as it was always implied that this album was more of a rare one-off occurrence while they would continue to play shows in the future when they all were available.
this is seriously like being a kid on christmas eve who gets to open presents from relatives who are just there for that night, only to wake up christmas morning not knowing that you’ve got a shit ton more presents from santa to open. well, you’d have to be a pretty big ignoramus to not know about santa presents- even for a kid. but you get what i’m saying.
i love this band and am absolutely thrilled about this news.