"The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard" Honors the Pioneers of American Music

On September 25, Stony Plain Records will release The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard, an album that the guitarist and singer has been working on for almost a decade.

“This project has been about a decade in the making for various reasons I won't go into here,” Duke Robillard says in the liner notes about the sessions for the new CD. “As many of you know, I am, and always have been, a huge fan of American roots music in its entirety. Blues, ragtime, early jazz, Appalachian music, early country, swing, honky-tonk, folk, R&B, soul, New Orleans music, rock and roll and all kinds of roots music have always moved and inspired me the most. Especially the artists that were there at the beginning of each style. Those artists always seem to be the most honest to my ears.”

Accordingly, Robillard has fashioned an album that salutes many of those influences on the new disc, demonstrating in the process the immense scope and breadth of the talent that has made him one of the most revered and beloved musicians in the world.

“With this album I honor many of the pioneers of true American music, from close to the beginning of recorded music to the 1940s,” Robillard declares. “This is the time period I love most and find a never-ending river of new music to discover, enjoy and be influenced/inspired by. This recording concentrates on music written and recorded in the ‘20s to the ‘40s, with the exception of some original songs and Robbie Robertson's Evangeline, which sounds like it could be from that time period!”

Besides Duke’s lead vocals and multiple stringed instruments performed throughout The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard, the all-star backing cast includes special guest vocalists Maria Muldaur and Sunny Crownover, former Muddy Waters band member Jerry Portnoy on harmonica and the late, Kansas City piano legend Jay McShann. Other players include Mary Flower (acoustic finger style and lap slide guitar and vocals), Marty Ballou and John Packer (acoustic bass), Matt McCabe (piano), Mark Teixeira and Marty Richards (drums), Billy Novick (clarinet), Doug James (baritone sax and harmonica), Dave Babcock (tenor sax), Jon Ross (mandolin), Russell Gusetti (concertina) and the Providence Mandolin Orchestra.

Robillard taps into his wellspring of great American music songbook knowledge by covering everything from such blues icons as Big Bill Broonzy, W.C Handy, Sleepy John Estes, Robert Lockwood and Pete Johnson, to country legends Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and the Delmore Brothers, with a nod to traditional popular music from writers including Stephen Foster. And Duke gets an early jump on the holiday season with the inclusion of Santa Claus Blues, featuring the soulful vocals of Maria Muldaur and written by one of America’s best pop music composers, Gus Kahn.

The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard was recorded primarily at Duke’s own Mood Room studio, with additional work done at Lakewest Recording and some live recording done at the Blackstone River Theater in Cumberland, Rhode Island.

The track list:
  • My Old Kentucky Home
  • Big Bill Blues
  • I Miss My Baby in My Arms
  • Jimmie's Texas Blues
  • Backyard Paradise
  • Evangeline (featuring Sunny Crownover)
  • Left Handed
  • I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water
  • I'm Gonna Buy Me a Dog (To Take the Place of You)
  • Nashville Blues (featuring Mary Flower)
  • St Louis Blues
  • What Is It That Tastes Like Gravy?
  • Someday Baby
  • Let’s Turn Back the Years
  • Take a Little Walk with Me
  • Santa Claus Blues (featuring Maria Muldaur)
  • Profoundly Blue (featuring Jay McShann)
  • Ukulele Swing

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