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Rob Ickes

Slide City – 1999 (Rounder)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Rob Ickes

Bluegrass fans know Rob Ickes as the dobro player with Blue Highway. A multi-IBMA award winner for dobro player of the year, Ickes is an in-demand session player and could be the heir-apparent to dobro legend Jerry Douglas. Like Douglas, he is keen on expanding the musical boundaries of his instrument.

Owing to his love of jazz, Ickes gives us a very strong, very enjoyable mainstream jazz flavor. Many tunes are from the jazz masters, including Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man," Earl Klugh's "Central Park," Larry Carlton's "Don't Give it Up" and Miles Davis' "New Blues." There are two vocal cuts - Tim O'Brien sings lead on Steve Winwood's "Can't Find My Way Home," and Cox Family members help out on Jimmy Rodgers' "California Blues."

Backed by a superb rhythm section and Joe Craven on mandolin, Ickes has succeeded here in presenting the dobro as a lead jazz instrument. It's hard not to like this record, despite its lack of bluegrass.