Americana Bluegrass Bluegrass Reviews

The Country Blues – Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley

The Country Blues – Rob Ickes and Trey  Hensley does not make me Blue!!

Rob Ickes and Trey HensleyOver the past week The Country Blues the latest release from Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley has been in my music rotation. To say I am a happy camper is putting in mildly! For me possibly the most important part of a musical recording is just that “the music”! Years ago when I started to listen to folk and folk rock albums. I would constantly check out who was playing on the album. Way back then, if I saw  Kenny Buttrey was playing drums. Vasser Clement fiddle or Buddy Emmons  pedal steel on an album. I knew I was in for a good musical experience! Through the years, the dobro has become one of my favorite instruments and Rob Ickes one of my favorite musicians. Man that guy can flat-out pick!

The Country Blues

Anyway, last week I put The Country Blues on the iPod and I have just marveled at the picking and singing by Rob and Trey on this album. Both of the artists are at the top of their game and the musical chemistry between the two is wonderful. Trey’s vocals and Rob’s dobro mesh so beautifully. It also doesn’t hurt that they have some great guest musicians helping out on the album. The first instrument that caught my attention other than guitar and dobro was the fiddle. The fiddle  playing on The Country Blues is certainly right up there with the dobro and guitar picking and I knew why as soon as I saw who the fiddler on the album – Aubrey Haynie and Andy Leftwich! They are two of the best around!!

Other guests on the album include: Ron Block, Vince Gill, Carl Jackson, Shawn Lane, Robinella and John Randall Stewart. One of the bad things about digital music from Spotify, etc is that you don’t get to see the names of the musicians. Because I know that if I had seen this line-up, well, I would have picked this album up in a heartbeat and you should do just that!!

Here’s some info about the tracks on the album from Compass Records…..

…. Fun pervades the 11 tracks, even when the subject matter’s as mournful as the post-romance desolation of Hank Williams’ classic “May You Never Be Alone.” It continues through the powerful Sonny Boy Williamson blues shouter, “One Way Out,” the mixed regret and determination of Merle Haggard’s “I Won’t Give Up My Train,” into the grassy dexterity of their original, “Everywhere I Go is a Long Way From Home.” They mix it up with insouciant funk of “Pray Enough,” imported from the Wood Brothers and the southern rock of Charlie Daniels on “Willie Jones.” Then there’s the jazzy tour de force instrumental, “Biscuits And Gravy,” written by Ickes as a kind of tribute to pedal steel master Buddy Emmons and even a nod to the Grateful Dead in “Friend Of The Devil,” Read More

Bottom Line:

The last album from Rob Iskces and Trey Hensley Before The Sun Goes Down, earned the duo a nomination for the Best Bluegrass Album GRAMMY. The Country Blues I think will garner them another nomination and maybe a win!! I love all of the songs that are included in the above quote. On my first listen to the album, my favorite track was “Biscuits and Gravy”. What can I say, I love instrumentals. But after listening a few times, I really like the cover of “Friend of the Devil” and……. Oh, hell just go give the album a listen.I know you’ll be blown away  by the musicianship of Rob and Trey just like I was!!Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots writes

“The Trey Hensley/Rob Ickes collaboration…features both electrified honky tonk and Doc Watson-style acoustic bluegrass boogie with some killer flatpicking. And above all that enthralling, nuanced singing.”

Yep, so check it out!!                             Rating: 5 = Amazing!

Links for the Further Exploration of the Music of Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley

Artists’  Website
Compass Records


Here’s the aforementioned cover of :”Friend of the Devil” from The Country Blues by Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley from a performance on Music Roots…..I do believe that Jerry Garcia would definitely approve!



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