Guitar Master Duke Robillard Is Independently Blue on New CD
Stony Plain Records announces an April 9 release date for Independently Blue, the exciting new CD from multi Blues Music Award winner and Grammy nominee Duke Robillard. The dozen tracks contained on Independently Blue showcase the guitarist at the peak of his six-string powers and feature a dynamic tandem throughout with Duke joined by guitarist “Monster” Mike Welch as special guest. Duke’s band includes Bruce Bears on piano/Hammond organ, Brad Hallen on acoustic/electric bass and Mark Teixeira on drums/percussion, augmented by a horn section of Doug Woolverton on trumpet and Bill Novick on clarinet.
“Independently Blue is a special album to me because it blends many of my favorite elements of blues, early rock & roll and jazz music,” Robillard says. “First of all, I am happy about all the songs and the feeling we captured on all the tracks. The variety of musical styles is all part of what I am all about and the blues sensibilities within all the tracks - even when nodding to rock and roll, R&B or jazz - shows our strength as a band. The addition of Mike Welch added a blues fire to everything and I am really happy about the instant rapport Mike and I had, and what a great team we made coming up with parts for the songs.”
Robillard continues to tap into the wellspring of great songs from longtime friend and former Roomful of Blues band mate Al Basile, who contributes three tunes to the new CD, with one of those songs co-written with Duke. Mike Welch brought in two instrumentals that allow both players to stretch out, have fun and challenge each in ways that make the listener the big winner. “Patrol Wagon Blues,” a song originally recorded in 1929 by Red Allen, demonstrates his wide swath of influences, as backed by the horns of Doug Woolverton and Billy Novick, he takes us all on a swingin’ Dixieland ride down to New Orleans carried by a groove any fan of the Crescent City sound would dig.
Duke’s guitar mastery is evident throughout Independently Blue, whether it’s the rollicking grease on “I Wouldn’t-a Done That,” the crunchy rockin’ blues of “Below Zero,” the Chuck Berry-influenced rocker Laurene (named for his wife), the smooth Motown-fueled groove of “You Won’t Ever,” or the ethereal track, “Moongate,” inspired by a visit to a 19th century gilded-age mansion in the Berkshire Mountains with its awesome gardens and rolling hills.
The addition of Mike Welch on guitar (nicknamed “Monster” for good reason) brings into the mix another exciting guitar player, and the two feed off each other’s energy and riffs. On “Stapled to the Chicken’s Back,” the two go at it with a fierce – but friendly – bit of “head-cutting” on guitars, trading licks and runs that bring the Albert Collins-styled Texas shuffle to a glorious climax. And on “This Man, This Monster,” Duke and Mike explore an educational journey of blues sounds as beautiful as it is powerful – and done in one take.
Duke Robillard continues his extensive touring around the world, and has a lengthy series of European shows coming up in March that includes stops in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands.