Michael John "Duke" Robillard (born October 4, 1948, Woonsocket, Rhode Island) is an American blues musician.



After playing in various bands and working for the Guild Guitar Company, he co-founded the band Roomful of Blues with pianist Al Copley in 1967.[1] He has also been a member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds which included Kim Wilson, replacing Jimmie Vaughan on guitar. Also experienced in jazz, swing, and rock and roll, aside from his preferred blues music, Robillard has been generally regarded as a guitar player keeping the blues style of T-Bone Walker.

He has recorded with artists such as Jimmy Witherspoon, Snooky Prior, Jay McShann, Hal Singer, Pinetop Perkins, Joe Louis Walker, Todd Sharpville, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. In the summer of 2006, Robillard accompanied Tom Waits on a tour of the Southern United States.

Session workEdit

Robillard has contributed to a large number of musicians' recordings in his career. Some of the most famous have been mentioned, but others include artists as diverse as Wham! and Jimmy Witherspoon.

Robillard was hired by Tom Waits, who was looking for a blues guitarist and a master of American roots music for his Orphans Tour. Although Robillard did not record with Waits, the 2006 dates were widely bootlegged. Robillard's latest album Tales from the Tiki Lounge, was a tribute to Les Paul, and he played an array of Gold Tops and other Les Paul models, plus an Epiphone Broadway. He began to tour April 5, 2013, as lead guitarist with Bob Dylan and his band.


He has been nominated for and has received numerous awards over his career. Awards include:

  • 2007 Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts
  • 2001 "Best Blues Guitarist" W.C. Handy Award[2]
  • 2000 "Best Blues Guitarist" W.C. Handy Award[2]

Robillard has also been nominated for:

  • 2007 "Best Contemporary Blues Album" for "Guitar Groove-A-Rama" Grammy Award
  • 2010 "Best Traditional Blues Album" for "Stomp! The Blues Tonight" Grammy Award


File:Duke Robillard in May 2012.jpg
  • Roomful of Blues - Roomful of Blues (1978)
  • Let's Have a Party - Roomful of Blues (1979)
  • Duke Robillard & The Pleasure Kings (1984) (Rounder Records)
  • Too Hot to Handle (1985) (Rounder)
  • Swing (1987) (Rounder)
  • You Got Me (1988) (Rounder)
  • Soul Searchin' - Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters (1988) (Black Top Records)
  • Soul Deep - Miki Honeycutt (1989) (Rounder)
  • Rockin' Blues (1988) (Rounder)
  • Royal Blue - Al Copley and Hal Singer (1990) (Modern Blues)
  • Heavy Juice - Greg Piccolo (1990) (Black Top Records)
  • Turn it Around (1991) (Rounder)
  • Too Cool to Move - with Snooky Pryor (1991) (Antones Records)
  • Poison Kisses - with Jerry Portnoy (1991) (Modern Blues)
  • Texas Bluesman - with Zuzu Bollin (1991) (Antones Records)
  • After Hours Swing Session (1992) (Rounder)
  • Pinetop's Boogie Woogie - with Pinetop Perkins (1992) (Antones Records)
  • Good Understanding - with Al Copley and the Fabulous Thunderbirds (1993) (Suffering Egos Records)
  • Toolin' Around - with Arlen Roth (1993) (Blue Plate Records)
  • Minor Swing - Gerry Beaudoin and David Grisman (1994) (North Star Records)
  • Temptation (1994) (Point Blank Records)
  • Spoon's Blues - Jimmy Witherspoon (1995) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Get Down with the Blues - Tony Z (1995) (Tone Cool Records)
  • Married to the Blues - with Mark Hummel (1995) (Flying Fish Records)
  • Duke's Blues (1996) (Virgin Records)
  • Found True Love - with John Hammond (1996) (Point Blank Records)
  • Dangerous Place (1997) (Point Blank Records)
  • Hootie's Jumpin' Blues - with Jay McShann (1997) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Time out of Mind - with Bob Dylan (1997) (Columbia Records)
  • Duke Robillard Plays Jazz (1997) (Rounder)
  • Duke Robillard Plays Blues (1997) (Rounder)
  • Stretchin' Out Live (1998) (Stony Plain Records)
  • New Blues for Modern Man (1999) (Shanachie)
  • Jimmy Witherspoon with The Duke Robillard Band Jimmy Witherspoon (1999) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Explorer (2000) (Shanachie)
  • Living with the Blues (2000) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Still Jumpin' The Blues - Jay McShann (2000) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Blow Mr. Low - with Doug James (2001) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Retrospective - New Guitar Summit (2001) (Francesca Records)
  • Living With The Blues (2002) (Dixiefrog Records)
  • More Conversations in Swing Guitar (2002) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Exalted Lover (2003) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Blue Mood (2003) (Stony Plain Records)
  • New Guitar Summit (2004) - Jay Geils, Duke Robillard, Gerry Beaudoin (Stony Plain Records)
  • The Duke Meets The Earl - with Ronnie Earl (2005) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Guitar Groove-A-Rama (2006) (Stony Plain Records)
  • World of Blues (2007) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Duke's Box (2009) (Dixie Frog Records)
  • Sunny and Her Joy Boys with Duke Robillard (2009) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Stomp! The Blues Tonight (2009) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Porchlight with Todd Sharpville (2010) (MiG Music)
  • Passport to the Blues (2010) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Low Down And Tore Up (2011) (Stony Plain Records)
  • Independently Blue (2013) (Stony Plain Records)


  1. Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 159. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Duke Robillard Interview 2007, by Brian D. Holland

External linksEdit


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