Duke Robillard’s career path was set in 1967 when he founded the iconic Roomful of Blues, later holding down the guitar spot in The Fabulous Thunderbirds (following Jimmie Vaughan’s departure from that band), then working with rockabilly maverick Robert Gordon and recording two albums with the Legendary Blues Band (a sterling group of former members of Muddy Waters’ bands). In addition, Duke has logged countless gigs over the years as a producer, bandleader and guitar player with a plethora of giants of blues, roots and jazz music. That laundry list includes late icons such as Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Jay McShann, Rosco Gordon and Herb Ellis, as well as contemporaries Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Jay Geils, Joe Louis Walker, Billy Boy Arnold and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.
Since 1980, Duke’s been a touring bandleader for 98% of the time with nearly 30 albums to his credit under his own name. He is the true link from those great artists of the past to the current and future of roots music. With the recent passing of B.B. King and the aging of other blues elders, Duke continues to carry his blues torch high, leading the music from the wilderness into the light. In recognition of his lifetime achievements, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame in May of 2014.
Mark Pucci of Mark Pucci Media