Rob Ickes is a contemporary bluegrass icon, from his work as a solo performer and as a member of acclaimed quintet Blue Highway. Ickes is a 15-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Dobro Player of the Year award and has tapped up-and-coming singer/guitarist Trey Hensley for his latest project.
Ickes and Hensley shone bright on the 13-track “Before the Sun Goes Down,” a throwback to the classic country sounds of the 1960s and ‘70s. There’s a touch of old-school legends like Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Hank Snow and George Jones in Hensley’s vocals and Ickes anchors the album with his unparalleled dobro wizardry.
The duo interprets songs from a host of other artists on this terrific slab, with a special emphasis on Haggard (“I’d Rather Be Gone,” “Workin’ Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today” and “When My Last Song Is Sung”) and Bobby Starnes (“Lightning” and “More Than Roses”). Ickes and Hensley also impress on a rollicking rendition of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Georgia on a Fast Train” and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s classic “Pride and Joy.” Enjoy, y’all. (Jeffrey Sisk)