Michael “Duke” Robillard

Rhode Island native Michael “Duke” Robillard has led a flourishing career as a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, studio sideman, producer, label operator, and educator. In 1967 he founded Roomful of Blues with pianist Al Copley, eventually going on to work with rockabilly musician Robert Gordon and then to the first iteration of the Legendary Blues Band. He began his solo career in 1981 with the Duke Robillard Band (later renamed The Pleasure Kings) and replaced Jimmie Vaughan with The Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1990.

Duke has produced albums by the likes of Billy Boy Arnold, Joe Louis Walker, Otis Clay, Billy Price, and many more; he has recorded two collaborations with Herb Ellis, and paired with his successor in Roomful, Ronnie Earl; he holds a seat in the New Guitar Summit with J. Geils and Gerry Beaudoin; he has studio credits for Bob Dylan, Ruth Brown, Johnny Adams, and others; in 2006, he toured with Tom Waits. Duke has even launched his own labels with Jesse Finkelstein, Blue Duchess/Shining Stone.

Duke has received many honours for his work including Grammy nominations, Handy Awards, and Blues Music Awards; his latest release, Duke Robillard and his Dames of Rhythm, features enjoyable renditions of ‘20s and ‘30s swing tunes. He remains based in Rhode Island where he pursues his passions as a musician, producer, gardener, photographer, and visual artist.

Available works