Wintergrass 2017 Performers-Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley

This unique collaborative effort between two uniquely gifted musicians is bound to be a revelation to traditional music fans on several counts. Rob Ickes is a longtime, well-established instrumental giant, and Trey Hensley is newly arrived in Music City, bursting with talent both as a vocalist and guitarist. Their new album, Before the Sun Goes Down, is slated for release this winter.trey-hensley-rob-ickes-bluegrass-from-the-forest-2016-watermarked-5

From his powerful yet sympathetic vocal interpretations of traditional and contemporary material to his jaw-dropping instrumental skills on both acoustic and electric guitar and considerable songtrey-hensley-rob-ickes-bluegrass-from-the-forest-2016-watermarked-10writing talents, Trey Hensley is bursting at the seams with freshness and musical excitement. His resonant baritone voice is rich, expressive, and equally at ease with classic bluegrass, traditional country, and original compositions. Raised in Jonesborough, Tennessee, Trey began playing guitar and singing when he was 10 years old. Invited by Marty Stuart and joined from the wings by Earl Scruggs, Trey Hensley landed on the Grand Old Opry when he was only 11. To this day, Marty Stuart remains a fan and booster. Trey has already in his young life played with Johnny and June Carter Cash, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, The Oak Ridge Boys ,and Janie Fricke. He’s appeared on bills with Sara Evans , Charlie Daniels, Peter Frampton, Randy Owen, Steve Wariner, and Marty Stuart, and has appeared before President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Rob Ickes has been playing bluegrass with his much-decorated band Blue Highway for over twenty years, during which time he has been adjudged Bluetrey-hensley-rob-ickes-bluegrass-from-the-forest-2016-watermarked-4grass Dobro Player Of the year fifteen times. Rob has played on countless sessions, recording with artists such as Merle Haggard, Dierks Bentley, Patty Loveless, and Alison Krauss. He has also helped form a jazz –oriented trio, Three Ring Circle, along with Andy Leftwich and Dave Pomeroy. His most recent album Three Bells is a true dobro summit, collaborating with fellow greats Jerry Douglas and the late Mike Auldridge. He even once received a surprise phone call from admirer, jazz guitar and harmonica master Toots Thielemans! In Before the Sun Goes Down, the listener will have the chance to view Rob Ickes, by now an acknowledged master of the dobro and lap steel guitar, outside of the box.

Rob has been a supporter since he first heard Trey, a happening that came about in an unusual way. He became aware of the young man’s enormous vocal talent when he heard his scratch vocal (suggested by the album’s engineer) on Rob’s band Blue Highway’s album The Game. Wayne Taylor and Tim Stafford of Blue Highway penned the song “My Last Day In The Mine.” The band had initially hoped to have a prominent lead singer outside the band to perform a guest vocal of the song for the album but found themselves falling in love with the youthful Trey’s evocation of the world-weary working man’s fears of leaving the only job he’d ever known. Trey was 22 at the time. Trey’s vocal was used on the completed product and has since received considerable positive notice, as has the entire album. Shortly thereafter, Trey and his wife Amber relocated to Nashville, and Rob has been showing Trey the ropes.
Before the Sun Goes Down promises to be a breath of fresh air on the country music scene today while bringing traditional country and bluegrass music to the forefront. Accompanied by some of the finest, most accomplished musicians in Nashville , Rob and Trey tackle a diverse group of songs, put a fresh spin on some old ones, polish up some more recent hits, and offer up an original from Trey – all the while drawing influence from artists as diverse as Jimmy Martin, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Buddy Emmons, Jimmie Rodgers, and Bob Wills. In addition to Rob, Trey’s sterling vocals are bolstered by a band which includes Aubrey Haynie or Andy Leftwich on fiddle, the ubiquitous (and mighty fine) Nashville acoustic bassist Mike Bub, and drummer John Gardner. Others featured are Jon Randall, Susanne Cox, Dan Tyminski, Shawn Lane, and Ron Block.

Before the Sun Goes Down was recorded mostly live with minimal overdubs, fixes, punch-ins, or even very many takes, and with all the musicians in one room in only a few days of studio time. Rob, the driving force behind the album and the man largely responsible for its creation, says that his favorite albums by the pioneers of the music, the ones that made him want to make music in the first place, were made in the same manner. The spontaneity and sheer joy of creation among a small group of master musicians is palpable in listening to the completed product.

Wintergrass 2017 Performers-The Kruger Brothers

Kruger-Bros-grayscale-Aug-2014.jpgBorn and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger started singing and playing instruments at a very young age. Growing up in a family where music was an important part of life, they were exposed to a wide diversity of musical influences. The brothers were performing regularly by the time they were eleven and twelve years old, and they began their professional career in 1979. Jens’ and Uwe’s first public performances were as a duo, and in just a few years they were busking on the streets of cities throughout eastern and western Europe.

CBS Records contracted with Jens and Uwe when Jens was just seventeen years old, and shortly thereafter, the Krugers hosted a radio show on SRG SSR, the Swiss Public broadcast group. Several years later, the brothers teamed up with bass player Joel Landsberg, a native of New York City who also had a very extensive musical upbringing in classical and jazz music (studying with jazz great Milt Hinton), thus forming a trio that has been playing professionally together since 1995. Together, they established the incomparable sound that The Kruger Brothers are known for today. The trio moved to the United States in 2002 and is based in Wilkesboro, NC.

Since their formal introduction to American audiences in 1997, The Kruger Brothers’ remarkable discipline, creativity and their ability to infuse classical music into folk music has resulted in a unique sound that has made them a fixture within the world of acoustic music. The honesty of their writing has since become a hallmark of the trio’s work.

In their ever-expanding body of work – Jens Kruger (banjo and vocals), Uwe Kruger (guitar and lead vocals), and Joel Landsberg (bass and vocals) – The Kruger Brothers personify the spirit of exploration and innovation that forms the core of the American musical tradition. Their original music is crafted around their discerning taste, and the result is unpretentious, cultivated, and delightfully fresh.

In addition to their regular concert schedule, The Kruger Brothers perform these classical pieces regularly with select symphony orchestras and string quartets throughout the country.

Through their numerous CD releases, radio and television performances, lectures, and collaborative efforts, The Kruger Brothers’ powerful artistic statement continues to inspire and enlighten audiences and musicians around the world.

Wintergrass 2017 Performers- Caitlin Canty

Caitlin Canty delivers her songs with a dusky alto and a 1930’s Recording King guitar. Her breakout record Reckless Skyline features an all-star band on twelve songs that veer nimbly between country ballads and straight-up rockers, dark blues and sparsely arranged folk. Produced by Jeffrey Foucault, Reckless Skyline garnered glowing praise from NPR, among others. The San Francisco Chronicle lauded Canty’s, “casually devastating voice and unshakable poise,” and her “easy way with folk, blues and country motifs.”

Both on the road and on her records, Canty creates a sound that harnesses the grit and spark at the very heart of American music, tempered with a voice both haunting and distinct.

A constant collaborator, Canty writes and performs with several bands including Down Like Silver, her ongoing duo with Peter Bradley Adams. Prior to Reckless Skyline, she independently released the full-length Golden Hour, a gently produced and Western-tinged album tracked live in Maine in the winter of 2012. Her song, “Get Up” received a Song of the Year nomination in the International Folk Music Awards, and she is the winner of the 2015 Telluride Troubadour songwriting contest.

Raised in small-town Vermont, the daughter of a school teacher and a house painter, she spent her early years in New York City as a backup singer and performing her own songs at Lower East Side music halls. Caitlin now lives in East Nashville, Tennessee.homepage-cc