Ickes, Hensley announce new disc
Friday, August 2, 2019
– Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley will release their third album together, "World Full of Blues," on Oct. 4 on Compass Records.
Ickes is a 15-time IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Dobro Player of the Year, while Hensley is more of a country singer, who made his Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 11.
Ickes and Hensey go beyond the acoustic-centric sound of their previous two releases (including the GRAMMY-nominated "Before the Sun Goes Down") and juice things up with Hammond B3 and a horn section. Guests include bluesman Taj Mahal, who is on the title track, and Vince Gill, who joins the duo on The Grateful Dead's moonshiner song, "Brown-Eyed Women."
Brett Maher produced the set. The album was recorded live at Maher's Nashville studio, The Blueroom, with minimal overdubs. Maher says, "For me, this record was all about living in the moment...letting spontaneity rule." Despite the diversity in instrumentation and song selection-acoustic blues to roots rockers, "Hag" country to Duane and Dickey-style twin leads reminiscent of The Allman Brothers-the end result is a sound unified in its approach to the broad scope of roots music. "Ultimately we're the unifying factor," said Ickes. "It's obvious we're into all these different styles, but there's a commonality in the sound of our instruments that, blended with Trey's voice, makes it one sound."
Ickes and Hensley wrote or co-wrote nine of the along with two covers. Hensley said, "Our songwriting was always present on the last records, but there were maybe three originals and the rest covers. We made a decision on this one to present more of our own material."
"'World Full of Blues' felt important to me to include from the first time Rob talked about it" said Hensley. "Bill Scholer had written a version of the song, but Rob and I decided to rewrite it, with some help from our friend Jason Eady, to make it more modern, while keeping Bill's original intent intact: 'It's a crazy world and it feels like it's getting crazier all the time...' We knew we wanted a guest on this song, and Taj Mahal was at the top of our dream list. He loved it and agreed to sing a verse and play some guitar on it. Working with Taj in the studio was a huge highlight for us... what an amazing guy and an absolute legend in every sense."
"Brown Eyed Women" has the distinction of not only being one of the duo's favorite Grateful Dead tunes, but a career first for country legend Gill. "Vince is one of our big musical heroes and it was so awesome having him sing on a Grateful Dead tune, which was the first time he's recorded a Dead song."
Ickes grew up in a suburb of San Francisco and discovered the Dobro as a teenager when he borrowed a Mike Auldridge cassette from his brother. He later moved to Nashville to pursue session work for artists such as Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard and Earl Scruggs.
Hensley grew up in east Tennessee and started singing in a gospel group when he was 6 years old. A few years later, his parents took him to a bluegrass festival where the lineup included back-to-back sets by bluegrass legends Charlie Waller and Jimmy Martin. Hensley decided then and there that he wanted to play guitar. By the time he was 11, he had performed on the Grand Ole Opry playing guitar with Earl Scruggs and Marty Stuart.
When Scruggs played Knoxville not long after the Opry appearance, he invited the young Hensley to sit in. Ickes, who was playing Dobro in Scruggs' band at the time, remembers Hensley as "a very talented kid", but it would be roughly a decade before they crossed paths again. When they did, Ickes was blown away.
"I couldn't believe the guy," Ickes says. "I was just so excited about his music that I called everyone I knew in Nashville and told them about him. Then I suggested that we start playing at (Nashville's) Station Inn and treat it like a showcase for Trey, just to see what might happen. I used to tease him and say, 'I'll have you famous by Christmas.' Then, just one year later, our first record was nominated for a GRAMMY."
Tour dates are:
Aug. 8 - Nashville, TN - The Station Inn
Aug. 27 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle (w/ Hot Tuna Electric)
Aug. 28 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel (w/ Hot Tuna Electric)
Aug. 30 - Pelham, TN - The Caverns (w/ Hot Tuna Electric)
Aug. 31 - Copper Mountain, CO - Copper Country Music Festival (Band)
Aug. 31-Sept. 1 - Pagosa Springs, CO - Four Corners Folk Festival (Band)
Sept. 4 - St. Louis, MO - Sheldon Opera House (w/ Hot Tuna Electric)
Sept. 5 - Urbana, IL - ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival (Spontaneous Combustion w/ Luther Dickinson, Steve Dawson, & Molly Tuttle)
Sept. 6 - Frankfort, IL - Down Home Guitars
Sept. 7 - Urbana, IL - ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival
Sept. 10-15 - Nashville, TN - AmericanaFest (Band)
Sept. 19 - Lexington, KY - Kentucky Castle
Sept. 20-23 - Pomeroy, OH - Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp (Performances & Workshops w/ Jorma Kaukonen)
Oct. 4 - Guthrie, OK - Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival
Oct. 10-11 - Ft. Wayne, IN - Sweetwater Recording Master Class
Oct. 16 - Boise, ID - Arts Northwest Official Showcase
Oct. 17 - Boise, ID - Arts Northwest - Performance at New Frontier Touring Booth
Oct. 19 - Galax, VA - Blue Ridge Music Center
Oct. 21 - Nashville, TN (Private)
Oct. 23 - Burns, TN (Private)
Oct. 24 - Baton Rouge, LA - Red Dragon Listening Room
Oct. 25 - Mobile, AL - The Listening Room
Nov. 7-10 - Nashville, TN - ResoSummit
Nov. 13 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere (Roots & Branches Tour w/ The Gibson Brothers)
Nov. 14 - Baltimore, MD - Union Craft Brewing (Roots & Branches Tour w/ The Gibson Brothers)
Nov. 16 - Round Hill, VA - B Chord Brewing Company (Roots & Branches Tour w/ The Gibson Brothers)
Nov. 20 - Buffalo, NY - Buffalo Iron Works (Roots & Branches Tour w/ The Gibson Brothers)
Nov. 21 - Syracuse, NY - Westcott Theater (Roots & Branches Tour w/ The Gibson Brothers)
Nov. 23 - Brownfield, ME - Stone Mountain Arts Center (Roots & Branches Tour w/ The Gibson Brothers)
Dec. 4 - Boulder, CO - Chautauqua Community House
Dec. 5 - Denver, CO - Cervantes' Other Side (w/ Mark Lavengood Band & Special Guests)
Dec. 7 - Carlsbad, CA - Museum of Making Music
Jan. 9, 2020 - Nashville, TN - The Station Inn
Feb. 3-10, 2020 - Miami, FL - Cayamo
Feb. 13, 2020 - Nashville, TN - The Station In
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CD reviews for Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley
The Country Blues
Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley go for the heart of the matter in "The Country Blues," their sophomore effort. The release offers gritty country-tinged songs, which place the talents of the two men on fine display. The duo is a combination of a grizzled bluegrass veteran (Ickes) and a relative young gun (Hensley). Ickes has fronted Blue Highway for many years and is one of a handful of top-ranked Dobro players in the music business. Hensley is a fresher entry (although he played on the »»»
Before the Sun Goes Down
The first great album of 2015 has arrived, and it comes from a duo comprising a bluegrass master and an up-and-coming county vocalist.
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Editorial: Walking the talk
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