Local Show: Robert Randolph and the Family Band plays Marymoor Park on Saturday as part of the Mountain Music Fest.
Robert Randolph opens up his cover of Bob Dylan's "Shot Of Love" the best way he knows how, with the wailing of his funky, soulful pedal steel guitar. It's where he's most comfortable. It's where he shines. But it's not enough here.
Randolph's other musical faculties have yet to rise to the level of his proficiency on the guitar. His lyrics don't tug at the soul the way his guitar phrases do. And his vocals lack heart. This comes into sharp relief when there's such a strong comparison to be made with Dylan's manic, desperate original.
Both Randolph's We Walk This Road and Dylan's Shot Of Love are albums full of religious exploration and engagement. Randolph's comfortable with the message, but his recitation of the lyrics fails to grasp the urgency of the song. Dylan wasn't singing on "Shot Of Love," he was shouting, begging, sweating with anxiety when he proclaimed, "Doctor, can you hear me? I need some Medicaid. I seen the kingdoms of the world and it's making me feel afraid."
Randolph understands the words, he knows the notes, but he doesn't have the conviction.