Two highly decorated pickers — Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley — will headline the inaugural Guitars for Kids Benefit Show Friday night, Nov. 1, at Songbirds North.

The concert will raise funds for the Songbirds Foundation program, which provides lessons and guitars for underserved and physically and mentally challenged kids at no cost to the kids.

"We can provide a guitar and lessons for 12 weeks for $100," said Reed Caldwell, foundation executive director. The $25 ticket/donation covers one quarter of that.

Ickes is a 15-time International Bluegrass Music Association Dobro Player of the Year. Hensley is a Tennessee guitar prodigy who made his Opry debut at age 11. As a duo, they are a Grammy-nominated powerhouse acoustic act known for their white-hot picking and high-lonesome vocals.

If you go

* What: Guitars for Kids Benefit Show

* When: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1

* Where: Songbirds North, 41 Station St.

* Admission: $25

* Online:


They blend blues, bluegrass, country rock and other string band music of all kinds into a unique mix of music that defies restrictions of genre.

Ickes co-founded the group Blue Highway, and has worked with Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire and Alison Krauss.

Hensley has been called "Nashville's hottest young player" by Acoustic Guitar magazine.

Praise for Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley

“Dual lightning strikes in a bottle.” — Guitar Player

“If you love the sound of white-knuckle flat picking and barking squareneck resonator, you’ll flip over ‘World Full of Blues,’ the third album by Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley … Ickes is a lap-slide monster with a silvery, singing tone and impeccable intonation. Drawing on such giants as Doc Watson, Clarence White, Tony Rice, David Grier and Bryan Sutton, Hensley plays flattop with the ferocity of a hangry junkyard dog.” — Premier Guitar

“It’s comforting to know that the real deal still exists.” — Marty Stuart


Together, the duo has shared the stage and collaborated with Tommy Emmanuel, Taj Mahal, David Grisman, Jorma Kaukonen & Hot Tuna, Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, Molly Tuttle, Jason Eady, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen and many more.

They were key players on "Original," the recent, highly lauded Compass album by bluegrass giant Bobby Osborne. Their participation garnered a Recorded Event of the Year Award for Osborne's version of "Got to Get a Message to You" on that album at this year's IBMA Awards. They also were on the 2016 Recorded Event winner "Fireball," featuring Special Consensus.

Ickes has said of their partnership, "It works in so many different ways Trey and I have always clicked, and when he and I know what's going on, everyone else just grabs on — and that's kind of the fun of the gig; it's constantly changing."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.


ChattanoogaNow Sections