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Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen | Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley
March 10 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm PDT$32
ROB ICKES & TREY HENSLEY
Some things you know are just meant to be—but even when you do, it’s nice to get some outside affirmation. So while Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley were sure that their musical partnership was the right move at the right time, it was still welcome news when their debut Compass Records project, Before The Sun Goes Down, earned a nomination for the Best Bluegrass Album Grammy just about the time that Ickes took leave of the band he’d been in for nearly 20 years to make the joint venture the centerpiece of his career. And with the release of their new project, The Country Blues on July 8th the pair build on the first one’s strengths to take their unique musical conversation to an even higher level.
“Rob’s helping me to explore more of what to play and when to play it,” says Hensley, who’s made the transition from hot-shot guitar phenom to well-rounded instrumental and vocal powerhouse look easy. “I’ve been in a band for so long that I’m really enjoying the simplicity of the duo thing—and Trey’s done a lot of band stuff, too, so we’re on the same page,” responds Ickes, whose award-winning resonator guitar work not only helped to power famed bluegrass ensemble Blue Highway for two decades, but appears on hundreds of bluegrass and country albums. He has won a staggering FIFTEEN awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association for Dobro Player of the Year.
Fun pervades their latest Compass Records release The Country Blues, even when the subject matter’s as mournful as the post-romance desolation of Hank Williams’ classic “May You Never Be Alone.” “I hate to use the word,” Ickes chuckles, “but we really did pick the material organically. Our gigs in town have acted as a workshop—you can try something new during a show at the Station Inn and work it out right there. So when we got into the studio, we just blasted through, doing a few takes of each song, without stopping for anyone to fix anything. And then Trey and I went through the takes to make our choices.”
After all, when something’s meant to be, the best thing to do is to get out of the way and let it go.
I’m sure I don’t make a true ‘critic’ since I’m already such a fan, but this album from Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley is a wonderful piece of work. And my songwriting side is truly overwhelmed. Thank you, thank you, thank you. – Merle Haggard.
FRANK SOLIVAN & DIRTY KITCHEN
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen were named IBMA’s 2016 Instrumental Group of the Year for the second time, with a third nomination in 2017. Their critically acclaimed album Cold Spell earned a 2015 Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album of the Year, yet the accolades don’t end there.
Solivan, with banjoist Mike Munford, 2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, award-winning guitarist Chris Luquette and bassist Jeremy Middleton, simmer a progressive bluegrass stew of infinite instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills soon to be featured once again on their new album If You Can’t Stand the Heat slated to drop January 25th, 2019.
Since leaving the cold climes of Alaska for the bluegrass hotbed of Washington, D.C., Frank Solivan has built a reputation as a monster mandolinist — and become a major festival attraction with his band, Dirty Kitchen. Their respect and deep understanding of the tradition collides, live on stage, with jazz virtuosity creating an unforgettable, compelling performance.
I’ll eagerly wait for Frank Solivan’s new CD. The taste I had at Saturday’s show left me wanting more. Here’s what I’d suggest. Listen, when it’s out, to Mike Munford’s fantastic instrumental, Crack of Noon. To me, it’s proof that Solivan, Munford, Chris Luquette and Jeremy Middleton are the best instrumental unit in bluegrass these days. – David Morris, Bluegrass Today.