Rob Ickes is a dobro (resonator guitar) player. A Northern California native (born 1967), Rob Ickes rhymes with "bikes" moved to Nashville in 1992 and joined the contemporary bluegrass band Blue Highway as a founding member in 1994. In addition to his work with Blue Highway, he also regularly performs with Three Ring Circle and his own jazz trio.
In 2011, he was named Dobro Player of the Year for the thirteenth time by the International Bluegrass Music Association. IBMA notes that he is the most awarded instrumentalist in the history of the IBMA Awards. He was also named the USA Peter Cummings Fellow in 2010 by United States Artists, an organization that annually honors 50 of America's finest artists across eight disciplines.
In 2009, Ickes released his fifth solo album, a jazz project with pianist Michael Alvey and vocalist Robinella (ResoRevolution). He had previously released four solo albums on Rounder Records: Big Time (2004), What It Is (2002), Slide City (1999) and Hard Times (1997). Ickes also performs and records with a "jamgrass acoustic power trio", Three Ring Circle, with Andy Leftwich and Dave Pomeroy. Three Ring Circle released a self-titled CD in 2006, (Earwave Records), followed by Brothership in 2010 (ResoRevolution). He has released a studio performance DVD+CD, Rob Ickes: Contemporary Dobro Artistry (2008, Mel Bay), featuring duos with mandolinist Andy Leftwich, solo performances, and duos with jazz pianist Michael Alvey.
Ickes was the youngest dobro player on The Great Dobro Sessions, produced by Jerry Douglas and Tut Taylor, 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.
He has also collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including Merle Haggard, Earl Scruggs, Tony Rice, Charlie Haden, David Grisman, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, David Lee Roth, Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Peter Rowan, Niall Toner, Claire Lynch, and Mary Chapin Carpenter and the southern gospel group The Dunaways. His work with Merle Haggard includes Haggard's 2007 release, "The Bluegrass Sessions" (McCoury Music). Other notable collaborations include the CD Earl Scruggs with Family & Friends, The Ultimate Collection: Live at the Ryman (2008, Rounder), nominated for the 2009 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album; and "Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, The Three Pickers" (2003, Rounder DVD & CD), which appeared on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart for 138 weeks. Ickes also played on Mark Twain: Words & Music in 2011, a benefit CD for the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum produced by Carl Jackson. The project featured Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett, Garrison Keillor, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, and others.
Active in dobro workshops and instruction, Ickes is the founder and producer of ResoSummit, a 3-day educational event held in Nashville annually since 2007, with 100 students, 10+ faculty, and key luthiers, with workshops, master classes, and performances. He frequently serves as an instructor at music workshops and camps, including NashCamp, Sore Fingers Week (UK), Rockygrass Academy (CO), Wintergrass Academy (WA), and Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp (OH).