Album: Robert Randolph and the Family Band, We Walk This Road (Dare)

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The Independent Culture

Seeking to expand his musical outlook beyond his purely gospel influences, "sacred steel" guitarist Robert Randolph hooked up with producer T-Bone Burnett, and found himself dropping $5,000 on iTunes in 18 months, catching up on things he'd never encountered (such as Chess Records).

But this pricey education has worked wonders on his new album, which features sleek R&B versions of mostly traditional gospel and blues numbers, some bookended with fragments of the originals, alongside interesting covers of things like Dylan's "Shot of Love". The nonpareil drum battery of Jim Keltner and Jay Bellerose ensures persuasive rhythms throughout, while Randolph's pedal steel runs like a hot wire through tracks such as "Back to the Wall" and the superb "If I Had My Way".

DOWNLOAD THIS: If I Had My Way; Traveling Shoes; Salvation