Boston-based acoustic double-neck guitarist Ian Ethan Case has been performing in listening rooms across the country for the past eight years and is increasingly gaining recognition both for his unique instrumental compositions and for the highly original playing methods which are required to perform them.
During a fall 2015 coast-to-coast tour of the US, a Facebook video of Ian playing a piece from his new album “Run Toward The Mountains” went viral and received over 6 million views worldwide in October alone, drawing unsolicited praise from legendary bassist Leland Sklar (James Taylor, Phil Collins), producer Steven Miller (Dave Matthews Band, Bobby McFerrin, Michael Hedges), and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman. The self- produced double-disc album features two sides of his playing: “straight up solo acoustic” double-neck, and at the other end of the spectrum, his meticulously-crafted live looping compositions which make full use of 21st-century digital technologies to enable seem- ingly infinite layers of sound and sophisticated on-the-spot orchestration that extends well beyond the reach of most looping performers.
One of only about five musicians worldwide to tackle the double-neck guitar in earnest, he fluidly combines a variety of self-invented play- ing techniques necessitated by his multi-layered compositions, which, taken together, have begun to establish the instrument’s musical validity perhaps more so than the work of any other artist. While audiences consistently remark on the fascinating visual aspects of watching Ian play “as he rambunctiously weaves between fretboards,
slapping and tapping the sounds of the guitar to life seemingly effortlessly in a style that you’ve likely never seen before” (Port Orchard Independent), his unusual methods are simply byproducts of the rich, heartfelt, and powerfully uplifting music that he composes.
Emmy-winning composer and producer Peter Bruce Wilder was one of the first to discover the young artist’s talent and unique voice in the remote hills of northern VT, proclaiming in 2008: “Ian Ethan represents something so new in musical approach, that the result is near impossible to pigeon hole into a ‘sounds like’ statement. It has been my personal privilege to observe his unwavering and deep exploration of this new technique and on a relatively rare instrument; the original music of Ian Ethan Case is not to be missed.”
In January 2013 Ian was invited to perform with some of the world’s foremost guitarists and bass players as part of Muriel Anderson’s “All-Star Guitar Night” at the annual NAMM convention in Anaheim CA, where he shared the stage with Robben Ford, Victor Wooten, and Stanley Jordan, among others. Since then he has gone on to perform with some of the most respected artists in his genre, includ- ing solo bass icon Michael Manring and Grammy Award-winning reed player Paul McCandless (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Oregon), as well as top-notch classical musicians from the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra.
In addition to performing and collaborating with several of his longtime musical heroes, Ian has performed and/or recorded with some of the best up-and-coming acoustic musicians from around the country and beyond, including Jeremy Kittel (Chris Thile, My Morning Jacket), Nathaniel Smith (Natalie MacMaster, Sarah Jarosz), Japanese harpist Motoshi Kosako (Paul McCandless, Stockton Symphony) and Austrian hang drum virtuoso Manu Delago (Bjork, Anoushka Shankar).
Most recently, after both were featured on the same NPR segment (“Here & Now”, Dec. 2013), Ian has begun an ongoing collaboration with 4-Time Grammy Award-winning cellist Eugene Friesen (Trio Globo, Paul Winter Consort.) The duo premiered their new collabora- tive works during two recent shows at the Boston Museum of Science Planetarium to overwhelmingly positive reviews.
As one first-time listener in California exclaimed, “Ian’s music is phenomenal - watching him play is not ‘listening to music; it’s a full mind experience. Transporting.” [+]