OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) — Blues guitarist and singer Duke Robillard was inducted into the New England Music Hall of Fame on Thursday following his successful career spanning over 50 years.
Robillard accepted the award at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. His induction follows The Uptown Horns’ award last week.
He told News 8 it feels great to be inducted, noting that it’s important to bring local music back to where it started.
“I haven’t played enough in Connecticut, I’ve been all around the world, but I don’t play enough here,” Robillard said ahead of his performance. “So I’m very happy to be here at The Kate.”
He urged people who are just starting out in the music space to make sure they’re “in it for music,” explaining that there’s no guarantees on anything in the industry.
“You could be incredible and not be accepted, or you could be not so incredible and make a million dollars, no one knows,” Robillard said. “So you really have to be in it for the music, that’s the important part. And you’ll never be disappointed.”
The Rhode Island-based musician, who started performing in the late sixties, founded the Roomful of Blues and was a member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. He crossed over genres like blues and jazz while pursuing a solo career, garnering attention for records like A Swingin Session with Duke Robillard and Low Down and Tore Up. He’s also recognized as the guitarist on Bob Dylan’s 2013 tour.
Although Robillard’s repertoire is vast, earning credits as the leader on dozens of records, his work was notably recognized with Grammy nominations for 2007’s Guitar Groove-a-Rama and Stomp! The Blues Tonight in 2010.
Robillard released They Called It Rhythm & Blues in March. He’s slated to perform at Minnesota’s Bayfront Blues Festival in August, followed by the Lowell Summer Music Series in Massachusetts this September.