Hooked on Bluegrass

Rob Ickes

I grew up with a lot of music in my family because my grandparents both played. My grandpa was a fiddle player. They were really into the old time fiddle scene and my grandma MC’d a lot of contests in California and Oregon. So I was around fiddle music a lot when I was a kid.

Then my older brother Pat started playing banjo when he was around thirteen. So I started listening to a lot of Flatt and Scruggs, Jimmy Martin and others. I thought that music was very cool, and when I got a little older, in 1980, I started coming to this (Father’s Day) festival. I really got inspired to play just seeing how much fun it is; staying up all night, walking camp to camp, and seeing all of the music. And I saw some other kids playing and I thought wow, that might be cool to do that!

On the way home from that festival, my brother was listening to a tape of Mike Aldredge’s first solo CD and I said “Wow, what's that?!!". That’s the neatest sound I’ve ever heard!!” I really got hooked on just the sound of the dobro. I think I went home and started playing that night. My brother had a guitar that he stuck a pen under the first fret to raise the action up, and was kind of fooling around with a dobro he had. He showed me a couple of things on the dobro, and I started playing right after that.

I’ve been coming to the Father’s Day Festival ever since. Really, coming to this festival is what inspired me to start playing.

It’s been a lot of fun teaching here at the festival all week, and seeing these kids starting to play. There were some great kids here playing, and this is where it started for me as well. The Father’s Day Festival is a great festival and the band always loves coming here.

(posted 7/14/2008)

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