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Rob Ickes

Three Ring Circle – 2006 (Earwave)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Rob Ickes

The number of albums bassist Dave Pomeroy has sat in on is headed toward the vicinity of 400 (and he's done a few solo projects), from Elton to Emmylou. At the tender age of 25, fiddler Andy Leftwich has for the last couple of years been a mainstay in Ricky Skaggs' band, Kentucky Thunder. Rob Ickes, of course, has been part of Blue Highway, a gold standard among bluegrass bands, since its inception more than 10 years ago, and a consensus choice as one of the 4 or 5 best Dobro players alive.

Given the impeccable bluegrass and country credentials among this trio, though, this is most decidedly not a straight bluegrass album. On his own previous solo albums, Ickes showed an inclination and flair for venturing into jazz and swing, and this is very much in that spirit.

In fact, on cuts like "Made In France," they seem to be consciously emulating and paying tribute to the '30s-era Hot Club music of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt - and Ickes may be unique in his ability to translate Django's genius to the Dobro. All in all, first rate music from first rate bluegrass musicians - but it's not really bluegrass. (