- Duke Robillard
Rhode Island-born Duke Robillard was just 19 when he cofounded Roomful of Blues in 1967. The succeeding 37 years have seen Robillard wander far from that original blue Room, but no matter where he roams, the versatile guitarist with the elegant licks always finds a welcome place to lay his ax.
After walking out of the Roomful in 1979, Robillard logged stints with Robert Gordon, the Legendary Blues Band, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds (as Jimmie Vaughan's replacement). All the while, Robillard was fronting his own Pleasure Kings, releasing seven albums for Rounder, and gracing recording sessions for everyone from Ruth Brown to Bob Dylan with his vintage Epiphone Archtop epiphanies. Robillard stalks game in a territory where blues, jazz, swing, and rockabilly roam and crossbreed; he almost always brings home a rare new hybrid to hang on the walls of his trophy room. It's just such big-game hunting that has prompted no less an authority than B.B. King to call Robillard "one of the great players."