Rob Ickes on Josh Graves

We are pleased to publish another tribute to Uncle Josh Graves, this one from the 2006 IBMA Dobro Player of the Year, Rob Ickes.

I was able to go to the service on Tuesday, and it was a really nice tribute to Josh. Eddie Stubbs gave an amazing eulogy.

Josh Graves’ was probably the first dobro playing I ever heard. My older brother played banjo, so we were always listening to Foggy Mountain Banjo – even before I started playing. I loved everything Josh did on that record, especially the breaks on Home Sweet Home and Reuben. They were so soulful, and had such an incredible sound.

That really stood out at the service. They played some of his recordings before and after, and I was struck again by his sound. You hear one note and you know who it is. There is so much feeling that comes through in every note he plays.

Musically, one of the chief things I got from Josh was the feeling that everything he does fits. He can play one note, or a whole lot, and it always seemed appropriate, and adds to the whole thing. I guess that is the main lesson I took from listening to Josh for many, many years.

Plus, he had a great feeling for the blues. That has been a good influence on me.

We all know that he was a great musician, but I want to remind everyone of his wonderful sense of humor. He was always so… cool. Even with all his health problems, he always stayed cool. He would crack everyone up, but remained mellow and calm throughout.

I’m really glad that I was able to be there for the service.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.