Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard

Wildcat O'Halloran Band

Sat · August 11, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$15 advance - $20 day of show

Duke Robillard—Roomful Of Blues co-founder—is firmly established in the upper echelon of contemporary blues guitarists. His resume is decorated with Grammy nominations, Handy Awards and Blues Music Awards, and other honors for his artistry, recordings and productions within the United States and internationally.

"One of the great players." —BB King
"Robillard is a soloist of stunning force and originality." —New York Times

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band has been thrilling audiences in Western Massachusetts for over twenty years. The band has opened for just about every major blues artist to visit Massachusetts, from Greg Allman to John Lee Hooker to The Stray Cats, and has been backup band for Bo Diddley and James Cotton.

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard
Putting Renewed emphasis on the Blues
Whether it's a song, a style, an idiom or an image, Duke Robillard will render it with mastery, power, nuance and an unerring grasp of its essence.

Born Michael John Robillard on October 4, 1948, in Woonsocket, R.I., Duke has carved out one of blues' most illustrious legacies, while also trodding some lofty related territories as a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, studio sideman, producer, label operator and educator.

After showing an early affinity for music and guitar, he founded Roomful Of Blues with pianist Al Copley in Westerly, R.I., in 1967. By adding horns, Roomful announced itself emphatically as the prototypical jump blues band, and became a New England legend and a fixture beyond, as did Duke himself.

His unsurpassed mastery of the guitar style of T-Bone Walker (later crystallized memorably in his 2004 release "Blue Mood") was deservedly heralded, but his breadth was also head-turning - from swing, standards and ballads to rockers, gutbucket Chicago blues and rockabilly.

By the time Duke left Roomful after a dozen years, he was firmly established in the upper echelon of contemporary blues guitarists. Duke went from Roomful to a stint with rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon and then to the first iteration of the Legendary Blues Band, composed primarily of then-recent Muddy Waters sidemen.

The Duke Robillard Band debuted in 1981, re-emerging as The Pleasure Kings with their eponymous 1984 album on Rounder. It and its sequel, "Too Hot To Handle," burnished Duke's songwriting portfolio; the 1987 jazz outing "Swing" (with saxophonist Scott Hamilton) underscored his versatility and remains a highlight.

Continuing his solo career, Duke replaced Jimmie Vaughan with The Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1990. He cut his own much-awaited straight blues album "Duke's Blues" in 1993 for Canadian imprint Stony Plain, leading eventually to a rewarding, continuing and prolific alliance, along with releases during the ensuing years on Point Blank/Virgin and Shanachie, as well as instructional videos. He has also launched his own labels with Jesse Finkelstein, Blue Duchess/Shining Stone.

Duke's prolificity has included producing albums by Billy Boy Arnold, Joe Louis Walker, Rosco Gordon, Jimmy Witherspoon and Jay McShann, Zuzu Bollin, Billy Price and Otis Clay, Sunny Crownover, Bryan Lee and Al Basile as well as recording two collaborations with Herb Ellis, a pairing with his successor in Roomful, Ronnie Earl, a seat in the New Guitar Summit with J. Geils and Gerry Beaudoin, additional studio credits with Bob Dylan (the well-regarded 1997 "Time Out Of Mind"), Ruth Brown, Johnny Adams, Pinetop Perkins, Snooky Pryor, Al Copley, Todd Sharpville and Tony Z, and touring with Tom Waits in 2006.

Duke's resume is decorated with Grammy nominations, Handy Awards and Blues Music Awards, and other honors for his artistry, recordings and productions within the United States and internationally. On his latest release, "Duke Robillard and his Dames of Rhythm" on M.C. Records, he wields an acoustic archtop and joins six thrushes for evocative and enjoyable renditions of 1920s and 1930s swing tunes; it's a worthy successor to his 2016 BMA-winning "The Acoustic Blues And Roots Of Duke Robillard."

Duke remains based in Rhode Island and a whirlwind as a musician, producer, gardener and photographer. But wait, there's more: he's now creating fine art abstract paintings, too! At this point for Duke, versatility and mastery should come as anything but a surprise; it just means more richness in a superlative career for us to celebrate.
by Dick Shurman- Noted blues historian and producer

"One of the great players" BB King
"Robillard is a soloist of stunning force and originality." the New York Times
"Most everything Duke Robillard has done as a guitarist during the past four-plus decades...bears witness to his musical intelligence and his dedication to his craft".- Downbeat
"Robillard's ability to play across the spectrum of blues is legendary. Few players can move stylistically from Texas to Kansas City to Chicago's West Side, but Robillard makes it seem easy."- Guitar Player
"A guitarist's guitarist, prolific producer, and master of all things blues, Duke Robillard walks the tightrope between traditionalism and experimentation...He's a master of many styles who moves forward while maintaining a firm grounding in the past."- Blues Revue
GRAMMY Nominations for Best Traditional Blues Album for 2010 Stomp! The Blues Tonight and 2006 Guitar Groove-a-Rama
The Blues Music Awards (formerly W.C.Handy Awards) have named Duke Robillard "Best Blues Guitarist" four years out of five (2000,2001,2003,2004) making him the second most honored guitarist for that award!
He was also nominated in that category in 2005, 2007 2008.
Wildcat O'Halloran Band
Wildcat O'Halloran Band
The Wildcat O'Halloran Band has been thrilling audiences in Western Massachusetts for over twenty years, and is currently promoting its 13th album “Hot Pulldown"... building on the success of the last five: "That Boy Don't Play No Blues", "Midnight Service Call","Party Up In Heaven", “Cougar Bait” and “Drinkin' With the Harp Girls” each of which was played on over 200 stations, and called “crazy-fun” by the Boston Blues Society and “a great release” by the UK's Blues Matters. Living Blues Magazine wrote: “Wildcat emerges as one of the most entertaining songwriters in contemporary blues...and his band doesn't know the meaning of dull!”


The band has opened for just about every major blues artist to visit Massachusetts, from Greg Allman to John Lee Hooker to The Stray Cats, and has been backup band for Bo Diddley and James Cotton. Recently, they opened for Coco Montoya and later Duke Robillard at Northampton's Iron Horse Music Hall.


Just back from being featured at Millenium Music Conference, and host of the long-running Sunday Blues Jam in Northampton, the Wildcat (guitar and vocals) will often be accompanied by Matt “Loverboy” McManamon (Bass, vocals), “Dr. Luscious”….Emily Duff (sax), Devin Griffiths (guitar, vocals) and sometime Trailer Park drummer Jopey Fitzpatrick


Living Blues added these kudos : “the grooves are so damned infectious, and the guitar playing so stirring....The Wildcat O'Halloran Band can make you dance and make you laugh if you let it...irresistible”.... Hot Pulldown is his best-sounding CD yet!!
Venue Information:
Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center
289 Main St
Greenfield, MA, 01301
https://www.hawksandreed.com/