This ended up being much longer than I anticipated, so I’ll be splitting it into two parts. Tomorrow, April 9, marks the release of The Duke Robillard Band’s Independently Blue, on which I’m honored to be a featured guest and collaborator. Duke Robillard is a genuine hero of mine, and as I’ve said before, getting the call to make a record together was like being asked by Batman to join him on his crusade against crime. The coincident release of Independently Blue and Duke’s new gig with Bob Dylan made me want to share some thoughts about what Duke’s music means to me. Hope you enjoy it.
Here’s a confession for you: for years, I didn’t quite “get” Duke Robillard. Don’t get me wrong – I was a fan from the first time I heard him, and he profoundly influenced my playing. I just didn’t fully understand what he did. Although the word “encyclopedic” is thrown around a lot to describe Duke’s knowledge of roots guitar styles – and have no doubt, it’s accurate and deserved – I feel like the word does Duke’s greater talents a disservice. Duke’s knowledge and skill are consummate and worthy of the praise they receive, but there’s a lot more going on with Duke’s music, and I feel like it’s worth talking about.