rob ickes

Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley first connected in Nashville in 2013, after the two had individually established themselves as formidable players in the bluegrass scene.

Photo by Jeff Fasano

The Nashville-based troubadours are paring country music down to its blues and bluegrass roots on Living In A Song—a deeply personal album rife with ace musicianship and earthy introspection.

Life on the road is, quite literally, a driving force in country music. From the baleful strains of Hank Williams’ classic “Lost Highway” to Willie Nelson’s perennially uplifting “On the Road Again,” the endless black ribbon has inspired more songs, with a wider range of moods and emotions than there are twists and turns on a Blue Ridge mountain switchback. So it was only fitting that when Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley started digging into ideas with Grammy-winning producer Brent Maher, they found themselves chasing a familiar theme.

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Rig Rundown: Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley

The country and bluegrass power duo show off a selection of their acoustic and electric guitars, which include gems like an original Frying Pan and a 1927 Montgomery Ward acoustic.

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Ripping reso and ferocious flattop for those who like it raw and real.

Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley

World Full of Blues

If you love the sound of white-knuckle flatpicking and barking squareneck resonator, you’ll flip over World Full of Blues, the third album by Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley. Dueling like Afghan kite fighters, and backed by upright bass, drums, percussion, B-3, and horns, the two acoustic virtuosos work the intersecting lines of blues, bluegrass, and traditional country while adding fresh moves of their own.

Fifteen-time IBMA Dobro Player of the Year, Ickes is a lap-slide monster with a silvery, singing tone and impeccable intonation. Drawing on such giants as Doc Watson, Clarence White, Tony Rice, David Grier, and Bryan Sutton, Hensley plays flattop with the ferocity of a hangry junkyard dog. He’s also a gifted singer who can bend notes and wrangle words like the late George Jones and Merle Haggard—clearly two of his vocal influences. Tired of country pop? This sonic moonshine will set you straight.

Must-hear tracks: “Brown-Eyed Women,” “World Full of Blues” with Taj Mahal

The trailer for World Full of Blues features blues legend Taj Mahal, who sings on the title track.

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