Epochalips welcomes the lovely and talented Vicki Randle to our ranks!
Hi all. I have a sneaking suspicion that when Robin asked me to contribute a series of blog posts about the life of a professional musician on the road, that she might have had something in mind like, salacious backstage tidbits, encounters with celebrities, glamour and intrigue.
I’m afraid that the details and concerns of my daily life of motion and performance is slightly less ooh and aah and decidedly more mundane. Hope that’s okay with her. It’ll just be our little secret.
It’s not like fantastic things don’t happen: after all, I’m touring with Mavis Staples, living legend, who’s last album, You Are Not Alone (the one I joined the band to promote) won her the first Grammy award in her 63 years of staggering accomplishments. She is a fireball of positive energy, dancing, hollering, and full of life at 73! In the two years I’ve been playing with her I’ve been to several continents, many countries, and nearly ever state. We’ve played Lollapalooza, Bonaroo, Outside Lands and the Austin City Limits Festival as well as the broadcast, the New Orleans and the North Sea Jazz Festivals, Monterey Blues and Newport Folk Festivals, Lincoln Center in NY and the Kennedy Center in DC. We’ve done Letterman, Leno, Conan, Colbert and the Jools Holland Show in London. (That show included performances by Adele, Robert Plant and Arcade Fire – we all performed in the same room and hung out with each other. That was fantastic!) The list of people who have sat in with us live includes: Elvis Costello, Win Butler, Glen Hansard, Andrew Bird, Aaron Neville, and the producer of Mavis’ last record Jeff Tweedy. We spent 3 days rehearsing for a live record and performance with the late great Levon Helm at his studio in Woodstock, NY.
We currently are co-billed with Bonnie Raitt, an a-mazing talent whose voice, ageless, crisp and lovely I remember hearing while in my twenties. and unmistakeable slide sound still rocks the house. The two bands full of intelligent, talented, generous, and badass musicians make this one of the most fun and musically enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had.
However, the actual 60 minutes that Mavis is onstage, and the 90 minutes that Bonnie plays are 2 and a half hours of 24.
It’s the rest of the time that I spend most of my energy devoted to negotiating.
I’ll take you with me for an inside look at not only the highs, but the day to day details that make traveling for a living work for me. I really enjoy it out here on the road, new experiences, sights, sounds, architecture, art, museums, natural wonders, food and, of course, the awesome people I get to interact with all over the world.
Vicki Randle – vocalist, percussionist, guitarist and songwriter has been a ubiquitous presence in the American musical landscape for over 30 years, whether Rock, Jazz, Pop, R&B or Americana. 18 years lead singer and percussionist of the acclaimed Tonight Show Band led first by Branford Marsalis, then Kevin Eubanks. It’s a good bet you own a CD that she is credited on, have seen a video or concert she was featured in, seen a film, TV show or commercial that features her voice (California Raisins, for example.) The list of credits is impressive: She has performed with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Al Green, Angelique Kidjo and Vince Gill. Recordings include lead vocals for Herbie Hancock and a duet with George Benson, background vocals with Aretha Franklin and Todd Rundgren. Touring (lead and background vocals and variously percussion, guitar, bass, keyboards and harmonica,) with Kenny Loggins, Lionel Ritchie, Dr. John, Wayne Shorter, Laura Nyro. Her CD “Sleep City” was released in 2007 and she is currently touring with Mavis Staples in concert with Bonnie Raitt this summer.