Six-string virtuosos Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley just shared a brand new tune from their upcoming Compass Records release, Living In A Song; a spirited, full-band ode to America’s favorite clear liquor, “Moonshine Run.” While much of Living In A Song spotlights the duo’s proficiency on acoustic guitar and dobro, “Moonshine Run” finds Ickes and Hensley ripping on lap steel and electric guitar in addition to their signature un-amplified instruments. “I had this song pieced together for a few years,” remembers Hensley. “I grew up near a river bridge and had always heard stories from the ‘other side of the bridge.’ It seemed to be a divider for the town I grew up in.” The song’s lyrics put it more bluntly: “That river’s bridge cuts the town in two / Between the common day sinners and the chosen few.” The song that began as Hensley’s collection of stories was finished with Ickes and prolific songwriter Thomm Jutz. The unison vocal and guitar lick that closes out each chorus bring the duo as close to classic rock as they may have ever been. “Hear me roarin’ down the valley on a moonshine run.”
Fans can check out “Moonshine Run” today at this link, hear the album’s previously-released title track, “Living In A Song,” here, and pre-order or pre-save Living In A Song ahead of its February 10th release right here. Ickes and Hensley will next take the stage for WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour on January 23rd in Lexington, Kentucky, with their fiddling friend Jason Carter (Del McCoury Band, The Travelin’ McCourys). A full list of tour dates can be found below or at robandtrey.com.
More About Living In A Song: Ickes and Hensley re-enlisted Grammy Award-winning producer Brent Maher (The Judds, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson) for the project and wrote 30 songs, picking the best to record. Ickes and Hensley made a conscious decision to lean the music in a classic country direction, with some elements of Americana and bluegrass thrown in for good measure. The results of their collaboration show the depth of their musicianship and are nothing short of stellar.
The title track, “Living In A Song,” grew out of their experiences as touring musicians, and according to Hensley, the song practically wrote itself after a long day on the road driving through Ohio. When Hensley digs into the lyrics there is no question that he has lived the story he is telling, lifted up even further when Ickes’ tenor harmony enters the chorus. “Deeper Than A Dirt Road” is a radio-friendly, feel-good paean to rural living, evoking life in the tiny East Tennessee town where Hensley was raised. And the duo’s rendition of “Way Downtown” draws its inspiration from Doc Watson’s version recorded 50 years ago on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken album, giving the duo a chance to trade some tasty licks with fiddle virtuoso Stuart Duncan.
Life’s challenges play a key role in the inspiration for Living In A Song. “Is The World Still Turning” was the first song written for the project and is a gorgeous broken-hearted love song inspired by the historically unprecedented shutdown at the beginning of the pandemic. “I Thought I Saw A Carpenter” is another heartfelt ballad, inspired by Ickes’ father’s words as he lay dying from cancer; the emotion that Ickes captures in his Dobro solo is as poignant as any vocal. The album closes with “Thanks,” a track reminiscent of early Johnny Cash. Hensley wrote words to the melody penned by his friend Lyle Brewer and once he started working on it found that the song arrived quickly, giving him the opportunity to reflect on his love for his family as he put pen to paper. The demo version of the track had such a great feel that it ended up being the master, with producer Maher playing “percussion” on the back of an old Gretsch guitar.
Living In A Song Tracklist:
Living In A Song
Deeper Than A Dirt Road
Backstreets Off Broadway
I’ve Given All That I Can Take
I’m Working On A Building
Is The World Still Turning
I Thought I Saw A Carpenter
Catch Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley On Tour:
Jan. 23 – Lexington, KY – Michael Johnathan’s WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour at Lyric Theatre^
Feb. 10 – Johnson City, TN – The Down Home
Feb. 11 – Nashville, TN – City Winery
Feb. 16 – Knoxville, TN – Barley’s
Feb. 17 – Cartersville, GA – The Booth Museum’s Boots & Saddles Pre-Gala Party
Feb. 18 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
Feb. 22 – Vienna, VA – Jammin’ Java
Feb. 23 – Philadelphia, PA – City Winery
Feb. 24 – Tivoli, NY – Kaatsbaan Cultural Park
Feb. 25 – Northampton, MA – The Parlor Room – Signature Sounds Presents
Feb. 26 – Portsmouth, NH – The Music Hall Lounge
Feb. 27 – New York, NY – City Winery
March 16 – Jackson Hole, WY – Showroom Session – The Silver Dollar Showroom – The Wort Hotel
March 22 – Winston-Salem, NC – Barn at Reynolda Village – “More Barn” Concert Series
March 23 – Shelby, NC – The Earl Scruggs Center – Center Stage Concert Series
March 31 – Phoenix, AZ – MIM: Musical Instrument Museum
April 1 – Tucson, AZ – Tucson Folk Festival
May 6 – Pinewood, SC – BirdFest
May 11 – Athens, AL – Fiddlers Concert Series
May 24 – Raleigh, NC – Private Event
June 9 – Pagosa Springs, CO – Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass Festival
Oct. 14 – Williamsburg, KY – River Stomp Bluegrass Festival
^with Jason Carter
For all dates and ticket information, please visit robandtrey.com/#shows.