And while we’re on the subject of David Letterman … New Jersey’s own Robert Randolph and the Family Band made its network television debut on “Late Show with David Letterman” in 2003, playing a typically dynamic version of “I Need More Love,” from its then-new Unclassified album.
Randolph, who primarily plays pedal steel guitar (though he also plays regular guitar), grew up in Essex County and learned his craft playing in the House of God church in Orange; House of God churches have a tradition of using pedal steel music, which they call Sacred Steel, in their services.
Randolph first developed a following on the jam band circuit, at clubs such as the Stanhope House in Stanhope. Though he is deeply rooted in gospel, “I Need More Love” has more in common with the funk of Sly & the Family Stone and George Clinton’s Parliament and Funkadelic ensembles.
In 2003, Rolling Stone included Randolph on its list of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time. He was the only person on the list primarily known for his pedal steel guitar playing.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.