My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Trey Hensley and Rob Ickes – ‘Before The Sun Goes Down’

before the sun goes downYoung traditional country singer Trey Hensley has joined forces with bluegrass dobro virtuoso Rob Ickes. They have been performing together as a duo, and have now released an excellent album together.

Hensley’s plaintive voice is at its best on the slower sadder tunes like the downcast breakup ballad ‘More Than Roses’, a beautifully sung song in classic country style.

Also wonderful is ‘I’d Rather Be Gone’, a classic early Merle Haggard ballad about a man, hurt but stoic, letting his loved one go her own way. This is ideally suited to Trey’s voice and is outstanding.

Haggard’s ‘A Workin’ Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today’ also works very well, coming across as heartfelt and believable. I also enjoyed the relaxed ‘When My Last Song is Sung’, a Haggard gospel number delivered with great sincerity and warmth. Hag is a professed admirer of the youngster, and one can see why.

Billy Joe Shaver’s ‘Georgia On A Fast Train’, however, is a bit less successful; while it is played brilliantly and sung with enthusiasm, the vocal, while competent, feels a bit anonymous and doesn’t quite convince. It’s probably one of those songs which works so much better in a live setting. A cover of ‘There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang’ works better, while an unusual but successful choice is the bluegrass-meets-blues cover of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s ‘Pride And Joy’, which works very well, with some truly excellent playing on it.

Bob Wills classic ‘Misery’ is also done well, while Bill Monroe’s melancholy ‘Little Cabin Home On The Hill’ is beautifully sung.

The title track is a nice bouncy tune about the on-off relationship of a young couple who squabble and reunite. ‘Lightning’ is a story song about the narrator’s moonshiner father,
“The most famous outlaw this dry county ever had”. The gently independent rambler’s song ‘My Way Is The Highway’, which Trey wrote, is pretty good.

Trey Hensley is an excellent singer and he is well set off by the excellent playing by Ickes and friends.

Grade: A

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