A Northern California native, Rob Ickes moved to Nashville in 1992 and joined Blue Highway, the highly esteemed bluegrass band, as a founding member in 1994. He is recognized as one of the most innovative Dobro players on the scene today, contributing signature technique and greatly expanding the boundaries of the instrument’s sonic and stylistic territory. He won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Dobro Player of the Year award for a record-setting eleventh time in 2009; IBMA notes that he is the most awarded instrumentalist in the history of the IBMA awards.
As an active session player and touring musician, he 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, Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Peter Rowan, Claire Lynch, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
The youngest dobro player on The Great Dobro Sessions (Jerry Douglas & Tut Taylor, producers), which won the 1994 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, he was also on the Alison Krauss & The Cox Family album, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow, which won the 1994 Grammy for Best Southern Gospel. His most recent release is a dobro-piano jazz album, Road Song (ResoRevolution 2009); he has also released four acclaimed solo albums on Rounder, eight albums with Blue Highway (Rounder, Ceili, Rebel) and a self-titled CD with Three Ring Circle, comprising Rob, Andy Leftwich and Dave Pomeroy (Earwave).
Rob is also a gifted resonator guitar teacher; in 2007, he founded ResoSummit, a three-day annual instructional event in Nashville, featuring leading Dobro players and luthiers as faculty.
- IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards:
Dobro Player of the Year (2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996)
- Song of the Year (2008-Through the Window of a Train-Blue Highway)
- Gospel Recording of the Year (2004-Wondrous Love-Blue Highway; 1997-God Moves in a Windstorm-Blue Highway)
- Emerging Artist of the Year (1996-Blue Highway)
- Album of the Year (1996-It’s a Long, Long Road-Blue Highway; 2006, Celebration of Life: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer)
- Dove Award (with Blue Highway)
Best Bluegrass Album (2004-Wondrous Love)
- Grammy Nominations (for Rob’s work on Grammy-winning projects, see bio, above)
Best Bluegrass Album (2005-Marbletown)
Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album (2004-Wondrous Love)