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Road Song

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Album Review

Acclaimed dobro player Rob Ickes presents his fifth CD as a leader on his own label, mostly in a jazz context, with the swing and twang you'd likely expect from this master of his instrument. The curveball is that Ickes plays with no rhythm section, but almost exclusively in duets with fellow Nashville compadre, pianist Michael Alvey. In an attempt to, as Ickes puts it, get closer to the heart of jazz melodies, he's picked some great tunes in the swing to post-bop style, with the occasional nod to his countrified heritage. Alvey is a good player, not outstanding, and is careful not to trip up and extend himself very far improvisationally, or in rendering the basic melodies of these selections. While Ickes has not mastered the art of improvising, he's always making a good go of it, stretching melody lines sensibly and with good taste. Ickes and Alvey play these tunes faithfully to the point, whether it be Wes Montgomery numbers like the title track and the fine unison version of "West Coast Blues," a sonically inverted, resonant take on Horace Silver's "Song for My Father," or Duke Ellington favorites like the lithe and quick "Caravan," or the good swinger "Take the 'A' Train," where the intro is repeated and the dobro takes the unlikely lead. Inevitably, you can't take the country out of the boy, as the down-home Hank Williams evergreen "You Win Again," a Willie Nelson-styled version of "If I Had You," and the ballad "The Nearness of You" are brought into a different light by the singing of Robinella. A naive vocalist with little range, substance, or soul; it would have been a better move to just do these tunes sans lyrics. The most surprising choice is Oscar Peterson's "Hymn to Freedom," a lovely, reverent, gospel-like composition that Ickes and Alvey could someday expand into a truly genre-busting, broader repertoire. Ickes seems on the cusp of making jazz his forté, and though others like David Grisman and Béla Fleck have turned country-swing fusion into an individualistic sound, it will be interesting to see where this marriage of American rural and black classical sounds will lead him next time 'round. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews


Rob Ickes is one of the best Dobo players of all time and this combination of piano and dobro, while unusual, absolutely works. The lovely singer who adds her voice to several of the tunes is a perfect match. These echos of an era past are a welcome addition to the music scene.

Rob does it AGAIN ! AWESOME and then some..

Thank goodness for Rob Ickes ... New interpretation of a few of my favorite tunes of all time.(Caravan) The song "For my Father" is worth 9 bucks buy it self. The rest of the cuts on this album just get better every time I listen to them. Its almost to good to be true, however just like fine wine .. it just gets better with age. This album reminds me of Willie Nelson's "Stardust" not be cause they sound alike but because like Willie's "Stardust" ever song is great ... the performance of the song is great .. The material covered is fantastic .. The original songs even better. The overall TONE is perfect and the feeling the album gives me made me want to purchase it right away.

If you love to find something new and Great at the same time... buy right away... Best 9 dollars I spent on music in a while.


the sound rob ickes brings to this JAZZ amazing. great darkness and grit to some great classic balads. fantastic album.


Born: 1967 in San Francisco , CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Widely acknowledged as one of the masters of the Dobro or resonator guitar, Rob Ickes is an instrumentalist who has made a name for himself in bluegrass, country, and jazz. Born in San Francisco, California in 1967, Ickes was first exposed to bluegrass and old-timey music when he was a child, attending weekly jam sessions hosted by his grandparents. Ickes' family tried to interest him in playing the fiddle, but it didn't take. However, when he was 13, Ickes heard the Dobro work of the Seldom Scene's...
Full Bio
Road Song, Rob Ickes
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Customer Ratings