Blue Highway Announces Departure of Rob Ickes


BRISTOL, TN (November 18, 2015) – Twenty-one years ago on December 31, 1994, five young men came together in Kingsport for a performance which launched one of the most respected and influential bands in modern Bluegrass. 

As Blue Highway gears up for a new album and an exciting new touring season, the powerhouse band will go forward without one founding member, Rob Ickes.

Blue Highway announced today the departure of their band brother and dobro player, Rob Ickes, who skyrocketed over 21 years into a celebrated dobro legend and the most awarded instrumentalist the IBMA has ever known. 

Rob explained his departure and relayed a heartfelt good-bye to the band and fans:

“In 1994, I had the tremendous good fortune of being invited to join Blue Highway as a founding member. I can't imagine a better opportunity for a young dobro player, and Blue Highway has been a stellar creative home for me for 21 years. So it is truly with a heart full of gratitude -- and more than a little sadness -- that I announce my departure from the band.

There are many reasons that have led me to this decision, but it all boils down to the fact that 21 years is a long time, and I'm ready to put my energy into other musical projects. In recent years, I have done some touring in smaller ensembles.  Those experiences really made me recognize how much more difficult it is for a larger band to deal with the complexities of travel, scheduling, recording, etc. The music is great, but everything that has to happen to get to that moment of creating great music is more complex and consuming.

So I am taking this step to simplify things. It is just so much easier to travel and perform on stage with a smaller group, and that is where I'm planning to focus my energy for most of my upcoming live performances.
 
To the guys in Blue Highway, words can't express my gratitude, and how proud I am of the deep and rich repertoire of music we have created together. To our fans, I can only say that you made our 21+ years not only possible, but also immeasurably rewarding. I hope you will continue to support both Blue Highway and myself in the future.”
 
The four remaining founding Blue Highway members wished Rob the best while expressing their excitement for the upcoming tour season and new studio album.
 
“Rob is my brother till the end of time,” said Shawn Lane. “Nothing can change that. I couldn't be prouder of the work we've been blessed to do together and what we've accomplished together. I wish him the very best in everything he does.”

“Rob is the most dedicated musician I know, and he will thrive in whatever musical path he chooses to take,” said Jason Burleson.  “"I’ll miss his musicianship and the unique sound he brought to the band, but most of all, I'll miss him. Thanks Rob, for the all years of music, laughs and friendship.” 
 
 “While we’ll miss Rob, we wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward,” said Tim Stafford, “and we look forward to rolling on with Blue Highway!”
 
“We love Rob,” said Wayne Taylor. “We also love what we do, and we’re pumped to get in the studio and bring a new Blue Highway album to the fans! Bluegrass has the most dedicated fans in the world. Thanks to everyone who has supported this band through the years. You are the reason we’re still here, and that means everything!”
 
Blue Highway charted the most radio airplay of any bluegrass artist in 2014, and will head into the recording studio as the New Year dawns in 2016 to create another piece of Blue Highway magic.
 
Their most recent album The Game  topped multiple charts at #1 including reigning at #1 for 7 consecutive months on the Bluegrass Unlimited Album Chart, and was named the #1 Bluegrass Album of the Year by critic Daniel Mullins in his end of the year Top 20 Albums of 2014 list in Bluegrass Today.
 
Blue Highway has been praised by fans, peers, and media alike, with one of the most powerful descriptions of the band being shared by Country Standard Time:
 
“Wayne Taylor sings with the emotion of a man who escaped the coal mines and ain't planning on going back. Tim Stafford continues to craft songs with depth .. The instrumentation is perfect. From the get go, Jason Burleson opens with the unique style that defines Blue Highway banjo..  Shawn Lane exemplifies modern mandolin, yet nods to the Monroe legacy. Three lead singers.. rich harmony .. songs of forgotten homeless veterans, fallen heroes, and heartbroken families. Blue Highway personifies modern acoustic music with respect for tradition. Highly recommended, highly respected."

With an announcement of a new fifth member to come in the weeks ahead, Blue Highway will roll on with a rich legacy carried on by three powerhouse songwriters and vocalists in Tim Stafford, Wayne Taylor, and Shawn Lane, whose harmonies soar over the dynamic and explosive banjo of Jason Burleson.

Stay tuned to Blue Highway news via www.BlueHighwayBand.com  and www.Facebook.com/BlueHighway.

###

Press Release Courtesy: 
Sherri George
Publicist and Tour Manager, Blue Highway
BlueHighwayPR@hotmail.com


_______________________
 

14 comments

  • Douglas Sheets Sr.

    Douglas Sheets Sr. Stockbridge Ga

    Blue Highway will continue to be my favorite Bluegrass band regardless. Rob Ickes is and has been to me the best dobro player of all time. Whatever he does and wherever he goes he will stand out as the greatest. I wish him all the good luck in whatever he does.

    Blue Highway will continue to be my favorite Bluegrass band regardless. Rob Ickes is and has been to me the best dobro player of all time. Whatever he does and wherever he goes he will stand out as the greatest. I wish him all the good luck in whatever he does.

  • Ric Harris

    Ric Harris Springvale, ME

    Have been a fan since '94. Every band member is really talented. I wish only the best for Rob and the future of Blue Highway. So, bluegrass on guys...

    Have been a fan since '94. Every band member is really talented. I wish only the best for Rob and the future of Blue Highway. So, bluegrass on guys...

  • Mike Bonkowski

    Mike Bonkowski Royal Oak, MI

    I've been a fan since "Marbletown" and isn't it odd I just told my son this past weekend that the group's line up has been the same since it's formation. Hope that wasn't a jinx. Looking forward to the new music. All my best to Rob.

    I've been a fan since "Marbletown" and isn't it odd I just told my son this past weekend that the group's line up has been the same since it's formation. Hope that wasn't a jinx. Looking forward to the new music. All my best to Rob.

  • Blue Highway

    Blue Highway

    Thanks so much, Douglas, Ric, and Mike. We all appreciate your support very much!

    Thanks so much, Douglas, Ric, and Mike. We all appreciate your support very much!

  • Tim Harkleroad

    Tim Harkleroad Pigeon Forge TN

    This is sad news but I am happy for you Rob. You are an amazing player as are all your bandmates. I have been a huge fan since Day 1, and I know both you and the band will continue to be hugely successful. Thank you for some of the most amazing and tasteful music ever. I am proud to know you boys. Good Luck Rob. Tim

    This is sad news but I am happy for you Rob. You are an amazing player as are all your bandmates. I have been a huge fan since Day 1, and I know both you and the band will continue to be hugely successful. Thank you for some of the most amazing and tasteful music ever. I am proud to know you boys. Good Luck Rob.

    Tim

  • Dan Douglas

    Dan Douglas Susanville, CA

    Kinda felt this was coming with all the work Rob's been doing lately without the rest of you and I do wish him well in his future endeavors but this will not change my feelings toward each of you. You are all outstanding examples of gentlemen as well as approachable musicians that truly care about your fans. I have enjoyed our individual conversations and hold you all in highest regard! Looking forward to the release of the new album to add to my collection of your amazing music!!

    Kinda felt this was coming with all the work Rob's been doing lately without the rest of you and I do wish him well in his future endeavors but this will not change my feelings toward each of you. You are all outstanding examples of gentlemen as well as approachable musicians that truly care about your fans. I have enjoyed our individual conversations and hold you all in highest regard! Looking forward to the release of the new album to add to my collection of your amazing music!!

  • Jason Taylor

    Jason Taylor Pulaski VA

    Best of luck to Rob and to Blue Highway .....Just wondering if there will still be a dobro player in the band ?

    Best of luck to Rob and to Blue Highway .....Just wondering if there will still be a dobro player in the band ?

  • Zeke Buttons "BLUEGRASS 2 THE BONE"tm Radio

    Zeke Buttons "BLUEGRASS 2 THE BONE"tm Radio IRVINE, KENTUCKY

    Thanks Rob for your amazing music for these last 21 years. I have been a fan of Blue Highway since day 1 and they continue to be my "favorite" Bluegrass Band as they have ALL the credentials to be the most talented active Bluegrass Band in the world. Perfect insturmentation, three lead singers, rich harmonies AND they write most of their on songs! I rarely do a Bluegrass Music Show that doesn't include a Blue Highway song on the playlist. Soar on boys! zEKE bUTTONS

    Thanks Rob for your amazing music for these last 21 years. I have been a fan of Blue Highway since day 1 and they continue to be my "favorite" Bluegrass Band as they have ALL the credentials to be the most talented active Bluegrass Band in the world. Perfect insturmentation, three lead singers, rich harmonies AND they write most of their on songs!
    I rarely do a Bluegrass Music Show that doesn't include a Blue Highway song on the playlist. Soar on boys!
    zEKE bUTTONS

  • Ralph Schut

    Ralph Schut Jihlava, Czech Republic

    Hats off to Rob and all that he has done for this supergroup - it will be hard to get used to a new sound without him, but looking at the talent in the band and the talent that they will surely bring in, rest assured that the music will continue to be fantastic!!!

    Hats off to Rob and all that he has done for this supergroup - it will be hard to get used to a new sound without him, but looking at the talent in the band and the talent that they will surely bring in, rest assured that the music will continue to be fantastic!!!

  • Joe Broadway

    Joe Broadway Albemarle, N.C.

    This is a sad day for me because I love Blue Highway and Mr. Rob Ickes, But I know that both the band and Rob will do great things. I know the band will miss the best dobro ever in Rob Ickes but music as a whole will enjoy the best of both the band and Rob Ickes. I don't get to got to as many shows anymore but I still buy albums and tickets when ever possible. Looking forward in hearing and seeing what this change will mean for both parties in the near future. Best wishes to you all. Joe Broadway

    This is a sad day for me because I love Blue Highway and Mr. Rob Ickes, But I know that both the band and Rob will do great things. I know the band will miss the best dobro ever in Rob Ickes but music as a whole will enjoy the best of both the band and Rob Ickes. I don't get to got to as many shows anymore but I still buy albums and tickets when ever possible. Looking forward in hearing and seeing what this change will mean for both parties in the near future. Best wishes to you all. Joe Broadway

  • Dardanelle Ramsey

    Dardanelle Ramsey COOL RIDGE.WVA.

    I've listened to this awesome band for 20 some years.Traveled many hours to watch them.Had my guitar signed by them this summer in Parsons.Great bunch of fellows.Bluegrasses best.Hate to hear he's leaving but I'm sure they will find a good replacement and keep putting out the music I love.

    I've listened to this awesome band for 20 some years.Traveled many hours to watch them.Had my guitar signed by them this summer in Parsons.Great bunch of fellows.Bluegrasses best.Hate to hear he's leaving but I'm sure they will find a good replacement and keep putting out the music I love.

  • Michael Smith

    Michael Smith Kingsport

    Thanks Rob for all the great riffs and for the picture of you and Jerry Douglas at Merlefest in 2000 (to the best of my memory) with you in a headlock!! Miles and memories!!

    Thanks Rob for all the great riffs and for the picture of you and Jerry Douglas at Merlefest in 2000 (to the best of my memory) with you in a headlock!! Miles and memories!!

  • Emily Hogeback

    Emily Hogeback Cincinnati Ohio

    Rob your my teacher & friend ill see you at ResoSummit and where ever I can come to see you play. Your Dobro Friend Emily Hogeback

    Rob your my teacher & friend ill see you at ResoSummit and where ever I can come to see you play.

    Your Dobro Friend

    Emily Hogeback

  • Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Lakeland, Florida

    My favorite bluegrass group since I first heard them way back when. Sad to see Rob move on but it is understandable. In fact, staying together that long is actually very remarkable. Best wishes to Rob and to the band.

    My favorite bluegrass group since I first heard them way back when. Sad to see Rob move on but it is understandable. In fact, staying together that long is actually very remarkable. Best wishes to Rob and to the band.

Add comment

Website Copyright 2015 - 2018 by Blue Highway.  All Rights Reserved.
Design by Sherri George powered by Bandzoogle.