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Praise the Steel

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How does a virtually unknown gospel-blues-funk musician get to play the Grammys beside such hit-makers as the Black-Eyed Peas, Maroon 5 and Sly Stone? Respect? Not unless you're platinum. Talent? Ditto. Relationships? Perhaps. If you've been pounding your pedal steel guitar, the one you learned in your Jersey Pentecostal church praising the Lord, and you've taken that fervor into the clubs, getting Clapton, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Rob Thomas, The Roots and even Big & Rich to march for the Lord, eventually the musical powers that be want to harness your energy for their tired awards show. That's how Robert Randolph came to sit center stage behind his unlikely steel contraption, pick and slide in hand, rocking back and forth, driving the all-star jam segments two years running at the Grammy Awards. Catch the steel sensation at Innsbrook After Hours May 3. Music starts 6:30 p.m. $10-$30. Then you can skip church.

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