Robert Randolph has taken the joyous, spiritual side of Sunday sermons and crammed it into his latest album Brighter Days. Growing up playing music in church, it's understandable that the songs are rooted in faith, hope and redemption, yet, it's not preachy or evangelical. The record strives to create the celebratory sound that uplifts and inspires through music, rather than religion.
Dave Cobb's production has a flat room sound, like the whole album has been recorded in a church – but the Family band best to blow the roof off with their ebullience. At times the songs throw out the verse chorus structure, opting for a repetition of a refrain setting up a gospel style song of praise, while tracks like Have Mercy focus on making us grateful for the small things through musical humility. Simple Man's melancholic blues tones opines the state of the world and longs for a simpler time. On Cry Over Me, his sister Lenesha Randolph, takes the lead with a crystal clean vocal performance, reaffirming this as a family affair.
Although the steel playing encompasses everything from 70s funk, blues, even broadening out to a Sonny Landreth style Zydecco attack at times, it's not the best exponent of Randolph's skills, not that this matters, this isn't a showcase album. The Raison d'être of Brighter Days is to reaffirm music as the ultimate joy bringer, and it will certainly leave you feeling musically nourished.
Groupie Rating 4/5