When we spoke with Rob Ickes earlier this week, he had some exciting news to share.
First off, he had just found out that he will be featured on the cover of Guitar Player magazine in August. The editorial staff told Rob that this will be the first time that a resonator guitarist has been their cover feature. The August issue will also include an article on Rob written by Matt Blackett.
“I’m really honored to be on the cover. Guitar Player been very good to me, and to Blue Highway in the past. They’ve written about the band before, and did a nice review on the first Three Ring Circle album.”
Rob is also pursuing an interesting educational undertaking. We wrote back in December 2010 about him being awarded a fellowship from the United States Artists organization. Fellowships are awarded each year to 50 artists in recognition of exceptional ability and achievement, which comes with a $50,000 cash grant.
USA also strongly encourages their fellows to use the occasion of their award to pursue some special project, and to take advantage of their fundraising network to finance the effort.
“I didn’t want to just record another album. I wanted to come up with something that could help me expand my horizons.”
After several months of careful consideration, Ickes has settled on a number of mentorships with musicians he especially admires. The first two he has chosen are notorious jazz guitarist John Scofield and bassist Larry Genadier.
But Rob wanted everyone to understand that he isn’t getting ready to skip on his grass roots and jump to the jazz world.
“It’s not like I’m blowing off bluegrass or moving to jazz. There are plenty of grass folks I would love to mentor with. Scofield is just someone who has fascinated me for years, and I want to learn about how he makes records. He is one of those guys who not only plays and writes brilliantly, but he always seems to get the very best out of everyone who records with him – sort of like Tony Rice, my first and strongest mentor, has always done.
I actually went to high school with Larry. He went from school to work with jazz legend Stan Getz.
My plan is to just hang with these guys and pick their brains. I guess I’m just curious about another world, and want to go check it out.”
Using the USA Projects web site, Rob is trying to raise the necessary funds to secure as many as five mentorships like this, spending a day with each artist he chooses. The money raised will cover the artists’ time with Rob, and his travel and lodging expenses.
The goal is a total of $3700, and the online fundraising campaign runs through June 13. His project site is soliciting pledges only; no one will actually be billed for a pledge unless the total cash goal is reached. The USA site also includes a video where Rob explains what his goals are for this project.
Check it out online.