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August 5, 2010     Tri-County News
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31ST ANNUAL MINNESOTA BLUEGRASS & OLD-TaME MusIc FESTIVAL !iiOi 'i ]uegras s 2010 Main Stage Performers At the 16-year mark, Blue Highway is indis- putably one of the most esteemed and influential groups in contemporary bluegrass. The band's nine exceptional albums and compelling live per- formances give proof to the stellar reviews, Grammy nominations, and numerous awards earned by the band since it first took the stage on December 31, 1994, with the same musicians that comprise Blue Highway today. With a deep bench of virtu- osic songwrit- ers, vocalists and instrumen- talists, Blue Highway's hallmark is an unwavering commitment to the ensemble, the "democracy of the band" that makes Blue Highway a powerhouse. Individually, Jason Burleson (banjo, guitar, mandolin), Rob Ickes (Dobro), Shawn Lane (mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Tim Stafford (guitar, vocals), and Wayne Taylor (bass, vocals) are masters of their respec- tive roles. Together, in Stafford's words, they are "a democracy in the best sense of the word": five gifted artists selflessly merging their talents into a seamlessly brilliant group sound. As a result, the band moves from strength to strength, more mature and impressive with each new album. Blue Highway also has five gifted writers in its ranks. Rob and Jason turn out the heart-pounding instrumentals, while Shawn, Tim and Wayne give Blue Highway a depth of songwriting talent unprecedented in sixty years of bluegrass bands. With nine highly-acclaimed albums to its credit, Blue Highway has garnered two Grammy nomina- tions, a Dove Award, topped the Bluegrass Unlimited radio charts, and won numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards. Refusing to coast on past glories, Blue Highway Continues to push its music to new levels of accomplishment. Artfully balanced between tradi- tion and innovation, it remains in the forefront of contemporary bluegrass music. A Northern California native, Rob Ickes moved to Nashville in 1992 and joined Blue Highway as a founding member in 1994. He is recognized as one of the most innovative Dobro players on the scene, contributing signature technique and greatly expanding the boundaries of the instru- ment'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. The youngest dobro player on The Great Dobro Sessions (Jerry Douglas and 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. Rob has released four acclaimed solo albums on Rounder, a jazz album on his own label, ResoRevolution, and a self-titled CD on Earwave Records with Three Ring Circle, comprising Rob, Andy Leftwich and Dave Pomeroy. An active session player in Nashville, Rob has recorded with a wide range of artists, including Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, David Lee Roth, Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, Earl Scruggs, Steve Wariner, Marty Stuart, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Marty Raybon, Jeannie Kendall, The Oak Ridge Boys, Claire Lynch, Lynn Morris, John Cowan, Harley Allen, The Cox Family, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. His recent work with Merle Haggard includes Haggard's 2007 release, The Bluegrass Sessions (McCoury Music). Rob is also a gifted res- onator guitar teacher; his instructional DVD set on Homespun is a perennial favorite with Dobro stu- dents, and he founded ResoSummit, a three-day annual instructional event in Nashville, featuring leading Dobro players and luthiers as faculty. Rob's signature resonator guitar, designed by acclaimed luthier Tim Scheerhorn, is Wechter- Scheerhorn Model 6535R. PAGE 8 iilIlll  Illll, ;1 INI!II[ [[llllllr,;llll tlllt]IiilIIltlL IIIFIFIIttlIIII 1111 717] IIII:IN ;,  ltlIrl]ItlrN 11[  }111; ln!ltll[liTIlilI l[lllllHlll IlmllliilHI!