from The Knick
The Knickerbocker Café, a storied music club in Westerly, Rhode Island, was built in 1933, shortly after the end of Prohibition. The Café itself is named after a train that passed through Westerly station at the time of the Café’s founding.
The club thrived as one of the leading entertainment centers in southern New England, hosting regional and national bands with an emphasis on the blues. Some of the greats that played on the Knickerbocker stage included, Big Joe Turner, Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland, Johnny Nicholas, Leon Russell, Eric Burdon and Stevie Ray Vaughan. In 1967, Roomful of Blues was born in Westerly, when guitarist Duke Robillard and pianist Al Copley started a band that played tough, no-holds barred Chicago blues. Making the Knickerbocker Café their home club, it did not take long before they started exploring swinging, jumping blues and added a horn section. Roomful would pack the house every Sunday and still plays their great brand of blues today.
Fast forward and the Café has become the Knickerbocker Music Center, a non-profit organization formed in partnership with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School. The mission of the Knickerbocker Music Center is to preserve, cultivate and grow the “Knick’s” unique brand of blues, as well as expanding access to music of all genres, by transforming the Knick into both an exciting performance venue and an exceptional center for music education.
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