1. Song for My Father 6:02
2. Caravan 4:22
3. You Win Again 5:03 *
4. Road Song 4:59
5. If I Had You 4:26 *
6. I Can’t Make You Love Me 6:44
7. West Coast Blues 4:53
8. The Nearness of You 4:30 *
9. Take the “A” Train 4:29
10. Hymn to Freedom 4:35
* tracks featuring Robinella
sound clips & digital downloads here
Selected 2009 Dates:
Montreal Jazz Festival (w/Charlie Haden)
WoodSongs Radio, Lexington, KY more info
Live in Studio C, WPLN, Nashville, TN
Tennesee Shines, The Bijou, Knoxville, TN (w/Michael Alvey & Robinella)
Down Home, Johnson City, TN
(w/Michael Alvey & Robinella)
The Station Inn, Nashville, TN
(w/Michael Alvey & Robinella)
9:00pm (doors at 7)
tickets at the door only - $12
Red Sea Jazz Festival, Eilat, Israel (w/Michael Alvey)
for dates with Blue Highway:
Road Song is distributed by: Burnside Distribution Corp.
Fax: 503-231-0420 Order@bdcdistribution.com www.bdcdistribution.com
Rob Ickes’ fifth solo album is a boundary breaking album with wondrous romps and intimate dobro-piano dialogues that reach into the emotional core of 10 great jazz standards. Jazz pianist Michael Alvey's intricate bass lines and percussive right-hand chordal punctuations have the energy of a full ensemble, while Ickes lays down melodies with precision before the duo launches into breathtaking improvisational rides. Robinella, a perfectly empathetic singer, contributes a playful give-and-take with dobro and piano, partly inspired by the great Ella Fitzgerald-Louis Armstrong collaborations.
The 11-time winner of the Dobro Player of the Year
award from the International Bluegrass Music Association, Ickes isn't content with assumed boundaries of
genre. Throughout his career, as a solo artist, a sought-after
sideman or a founding member of the acclaimed ensembles Blue
Highway and Three Ring Circle, Ickes' intuitive ability to tap into
a song's emotional essence and offer something fresh has earned
him accolades and respect well beyond the Dobro's domain in
country and bluegrass music.
Ickes (rhymes w/ “bikes”) has collaborated with a wide range of
musicians, including Charlie Haden, Merle Haggard, Earl Scruggs,
Tony Rice, David Grisman, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, David Lee
Roth, Patty Loveless, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. The youngest
dobro player on The Great Dobro Sessions (1994 Grammy, Best
Bluegrass Album), he was also on the Alison Krauss & The Cox
Family album, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow (1994 Grammy, Best
Michael Alvey, Rob Ickes & Robinella
photo credit: Adam Frehm
For the first release on my own label, ResoRevolution, I wanted to do something somewhat "revolutionary" in the resonator guitar world. I think it is safe to say that this is the first time that piano and Dobro have been paired together for an entire CD. I have always enjoyed the way the natural sustain of the Dobro blends with the longer and more complex chords that piano players use. These chords effectively give me more notes to choose from, expanding the voice of my instrument. This recording was made as "live" as possible. Michael and I went into the studio for two days and just sat down and played. That's the way I like to record, to capture what happens between musicians. There were minimal fixes on this recording, and each of Robinella's songs are first takes; thank you, Robinella and Michael, for these great performances!
Produced by Rob Ickes
Rob Ickes - Dobro, Scheerhorn Acoustic Slide
Michael Alvey - Piano
Robinella - Vocal tracks (3, 5, 8)
Executive producer - Betty Wheeler
Recorded at Wildwood Recording Studio, Brentwood, TN
Mixed at OTR Studios, Belmont, CA
Recorded and mixed by Cookie Marenco
Mastered by Cookie Marenco at OTR Studios
Photography - Michael Witcher; Adam Frehm (trio photo)
Liner Notes - Rick Clark
Art Design - Craig Hansen
"Dobro master Rob Ickes’ Road Song, issued on the ResoRevolution label, isn’t the first time that the most-awarded instrumentalist in IBMA history has served up a sliding take on jazz—but it’s his most intensely focused and most stripped-down effort to date. Paired with pianist Michael Alvey, Ickes eschews originals in favor of tunes from the Ellington, Silver and Montgomery songbooks with barely a nod in Nashville’s direction—except for a sultry reading of “You Win Again,” one of three tracks to feature singer Robinella. Ickes has chops aplenty, but he’s got even more taste. While many of the numbers can be called chestnuts, they serve not as vehicles for razzle-dazzle but as explorations of infinite shades of instrumental tone. They also remind you how songs earn that “chestnut” tag in the first place—great, memorable melodies and nifty rhythms."
–Nashville Scene posted 8/6/09
"One cannot underestimate the ability of modern bluegrass musicians to explore new territory. If you have any doubt, check out Rob Ickes' new CD. Ickes is used to breaking new ground. If you grow up in the bluegrass hotbed of San Francisco to become the 10-time IBMA dobroist of the year, you know no boundaries. With this breakthrough CD of Dobro and piano duets of jazz standards, Ickes carries on the tradition.
"Ickes doesn't just dabble in the genre, he takes it head on. The Dobro's sustain resonates with piano jazz licks like they were made for each other. It sounds like a natural, yet to date only Ickes and pianist Michael Alvey had the vision to put the two together. . . Robinella sings several sultry cuts. Her rendition of Hank Williams's You Win Again all but had bar glasses clinking in the background. . . Here's to a new genre; Dobro and piano jazz. Nicely done. "
– Country Standard Time full review
"For this first album on his own ResoRevolution label, Rob decided to do something "revolutionary" - blend the dobro and piano in a series of classic jazz tunes. The piano's complex array of melody notes blends with the dobro's natural sustain to harbor a perfectly flowing blend of two instruments in a carefully choreographed dance of melody, augmented with the superb vocals of a vocalist of subtle and enchanting nuances, Robinella.... Her "The Nearness of You" has all the ache and desire of love and the dobro and piano answer her siren calls with gentle cascades of melody."
–Bluegrass Breakdown (California Bluegrass Association)
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NPR feature: Dobro Player Rob Ickes Takes a New Highway - hear it here | read it here
–Craig Havighurst, NPR / All Things Considered
The Dobro is a generally cantankerous instrument in the hands of all but a few masters. Rob Ickes has become one of those masters, and his new Road Song album is beautiful at every bend.
–Peter Cooper, The Tennessean
As Ickes's latest album, Road Song, amply demonstrates, in the right hands, the dobro is capable of producing an amazing array of textures and colors. . . Ickes is a true master of the instrument, and he manages to bend and sculpt such an eclectic range of sounds and textures from it that you begin to suspect he may be surreptitiously filtering his sonic output through some computerized enhancement gizmos. But it all comes down to plain, old dexterity and organic instrumental wizardry.
-The Jerusalem Post
“Rob Ickes’ new CD swings! It cooks! Ickes does for the dobro what Toots Thielemans did for the harmonica and Stephane Grappelli for the violin – he makes it a legitimate JAZZ instrument. Ickes wears his bluegrass and jazz
hats equally well.”
– Mark Welch, Program Director, WKMS
“Blue Highway Dobro monster Rob Ickes is already legendary in bluegrass circles, having won the IBMA Dobro Player of the Year award an astounding ten times . . . Ickes’ rep has been built on his mind-boggling chops, spot-on intonation, and knack for both accompaniment and soloing.
"All of those attributes are in full swing on Road Song, but they are cast in a totally different light. On this, the first release on Ickes’ own label, ResoRevolution, he stretches way out with all new timbres that radically expand the range of his instrument. Carefully placed sitar-style buzzes, rhythmic rattles that almost sound like snares on a drum, and other sound effects make for a cinematic and engaging listen.
"The tunes themselves also represent something of a departure, with darker jazz colors replacing upbeat bluegrass sounds on several cuts, Michael Alvey’s piano providing a gorgeous backdrop for Ickes’ resonator tones, and vocals by Robinella adding evocative and dreamy textures.
"Ickes’ playing remains the focal point, and it’s unfailingly deep, expressive, and emotional throughout. [He]
is doing for resonator guitars what Jake Shimabukuro does for the uke and what Bela Fleck does for the banjo: He elevates the state of the art in such a startlingly beautiful way that it’s almost impossible to view the instrument the same way ever again. Ickes . . . possesses the rare combination of knowing and honoring tradition while simultaneously obliterating all the boundaries imposed by that tradition. Bravo!”
– Matt Blackett, Guitar Player Magazine
Read Guitar Player Magazine's interview with Rob Ickes about Road Song full interview>>
"I've been listening to Rob's new album, Road Song, and hitting the ‘repeat’ button – I don't care if it's the only thing I listen to for the next year!"
– Tony Rice
[Review of Cyril Neville and Rob Ickes at WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour]:
". . . For his set, dobro great Rob Ickes favored jazz explorations from his album Road Song over bluegrass. While a pair of Duke Ellington standards — Caravan and a country swing-fortified Take the "A" Train — were sublime duet vehicles for Ickes and pianist Michael Alvey, the 1964 Horace Silver classic Song for My Father let the dobro's inherent warmth mingle with the tune's infectious piano sway. Knoxville singer Robinella joined for Hank Williams' You Win Again, which downplayed country affection for aching blues, and the standard If I Had You. Robinella's phrasing again brought the great Billie Holiday to mind. But her tone was never imitative. She simply found her own spot within Ickes' wonderfully inventive string music and had a ball."
–Walter Tunis, Lexington Herald-Leader |