(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Black Francis aka Frank Black, the frontman of the Pixies, and sacred-steel guitarist Robert Randolph perform back-to-back shows at Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, February 8, and Saturday, February 9, 2013, respectively. Both artists have headlined arena shows and large festivals, offering concertgoers a rare and intimate glimpse of performers of this stature in the comfortable confines of the Hudson Valley nightclub. Both shows are at 9 p.m. Randolph will be appearing with the Slide Brothers, a group of sacred-steel players, on the occasion of the release of the new album, Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers.
Black Francis is the stage name contrived by and for Charles Thompson during his residency in college rock band the Pixies, a period that ran from the group’s formation in Boston during 1986 until 1993, when the group split up. Thompson’s next show business identity was as Frank Black, often in the band-leading context of Frank Black and the Catholics. Thompson released many albums under his Frank Black moniker, but returned to the Black Francis name for 2007’s Bluefinger, which was a concept album about the life and death of Dutch painter/punk rocker Herman Brood and featured some of Black’s most ferocious rock in years. Still working under his Black Francis moniker, Black released the sexually charged NonStopErotik in 2010. Abbabubba, a B-sides and demos collection, arrived in 2011 along with The Golem, Francis’ score for the 1920 silent film of the same name.
The Slide Brothers, standard bearers of the sacred steel tradition, will be releasing their first studio album on February 19. The album, simply titled Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers, was catalyzed by Robert Randolph, who has revitalized the sacred steel tradition in the modern era, carrying the style born in The House of God Church more than 80 years ago to mainstream secular success before concert and festival audiences around the world.
In 2000, Randolph began playing his first club dates in New York City before audiences who had, for the most part, never before had encountered sacred steel music. Randolph started playing the instrument as a church-going teenager in Orange, N.J, where he was raised in the House of God Church, an African-American Pentecostal denomination that had been implementing steel guitars in services since the 1930s.
Randolph’s own group, the Family Band, includes cousins Danyell Morgan and Marcus and John Ginty. Robert Randolph & the Family Band’s Live at the Wetlands, released in the fall 2001 vividly captured the band’s live performance and set the stage for Unclassified, the studio debut that followed in 2003 introducing Randolph to an even wider audience. One new fan was veteran guitarist Eric Clapton, who brought the band out on tour and appeared on Robert Randolph’s third release, Colorblind, in 2006. In 2010, Randolph teamed-up with producer T Bone Burnett and released the album We Walk This Road, which featured guest appearances from Ben Harper, Leon Russell and Doyle Bramhall II. More recently, he unveiled Robert Randolph and the Family Band: Live in Concert, a long-awaited follow-up for the fans of his acclaimed Live in the Wetlands recording.
Today, Robert Randolph finds himself back in the studio and returning to his roots. “By co-producing and presenting the new album from The Slide Brothers, I’m hoping that the story can finally be told,” he explains. “For 80 years this music has been hidden inside the churches and these older guys were not allowed to play anything else. Now we’re all hanging out with The Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy and B.B. King and can use gospel and mainstream music to tell our story.”
The Slide Brothers’ new release includes 11 tracks and features some of the most dynamic electric slide guitar playing ever recorded. Inspired by Randolph to finally emerge beyond their respected positions within the sacred steel community, the Slide Brothers tackle rock, funk and even the deepest blues with a ferocity that will startle fans of Duane Allman, Derek Trucks and even Muddy Waters.
The Slide Brothers are Calvin Cooke, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell and Aubrey Ghent, each of whom was raised worshiping and performing in The Church of the Living God. They were an ad hoc family, traveling and learning from the other dominions in their communities in cities from Nashville to Chicago to Newark. Calvin Cooke was born into a musical family in Cleveland, Ohio in 1944 and would go on to become known among the ranks of Nashville’s premier country steel guitarists as “the B.B. King of gospel steel guitar.” Cooke is hailed today as the most influential living pedal steel guitar master within the Sacred Steel tradition.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800