Ian Ethan Case
Boston-based multi-instrumentalist Ian Ethan Case, best known for his innovative approach to the 18-string acoustic double-neck guitar, 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 in October alone, drawing praise from viewers around the world, including 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 seemingly 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 playing 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 writes and plays.
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 Case 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, including 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, Jars of Clay), 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 collaborative 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.”
What the Music Industry and Press Are Saying:
“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 is not to be missed.”
-Emmy-Winning Composer / Producer Peter Bruce Wilder (Morrisville, VT)
“Though the big name acts like Stanley Jordan, Robben Ford (who received The Guitar Player Certified Legend award at the event) and host and performer Muriel Anderson were the big name draws of this ‘exclusive’ event, it was some of the lesser known names who were the most interesting of the long showcase...Ian Ethan Case is a young guitarist with a style that is both sonically and visually original and unorthodox in all the best ways.”
“Case’s performance at this showcase surely had many six-stringers rethink the possibilities of the guitar. Case plays a double neck acoustic guitar in a unique and percussive manner, strumming the six string side of the guitar with one hand, while fretting chords and lead sequences on the 12 string side with the other hand, over the neck of the guitar while occasionally thumping his fists on the instrument’s body, creating polyrhythms. One must see this to believe it. His ideas were endless, playing a style that had elements of country, acoustic rock, and bluegrass, but is a completely unique sound nonetheless.”
“It was refreshing to witness a guitarist who has created his own style and is not emulating a host of other players.” -Devon “Doc” Wendell – The International Review of Music: 2013 NAMM Convention Performance Highlights / irom.wordpress.com
“You’ve probably never heard anything quite like the music of Ian Ethan. That’s probably because not many musicians are tackling the double-neck guitar — at least not the way he plays it…”
“The results of his exploration are stunning, beautiful, moving and expressive…be prepared to hear something like you’ve never heard before, to venture into wild and uncharted territory.”
-Jen O’Callaghan – Nashua Telegraph / Encore / Granite Sounds (Nashua, NH)
“…a style beyond even the great double-neckers like Jimmy Page and Richie Sambora…an inventively new vein of guitar playing.”
“It’s entrancing to watch…as he rambunctiously weaves between fret boards, slapping and tapping the sounds of the guitar to life seemingly effortlessly in a style that you’ve likely never seen before.”
-Bill Mickelson – Port Orchard Independent (WA)
“Since Ian’s songs have no vocals, his rhythms and melodies become the lyrics in their absence…between the songs he becomes a storyteller explaining his passion for musical exploration.”
-Sunapee Sound (Sunapee, NH)
“Most bands would need four or six hands to create the layered rhythms and harmonies Ian Ethan delivers solo…the resulting acoustic compositions flit between folk and classical genres, amplified when he incorporates other instruments using an electronic looping device. Talk about multitasking.”
-Seven Days (Burlington, VT)
“That’s some pretty amazing and crazy stuff you do. The coolest thing is that you still have room for a melody with all that activity. I really liked it.”
-Lloyd Baggs, Founder/Owner of L.R. Baggs Acoustic Pickups & Preamps
What Concert Venues and Music Presenters Are Saying:
“Revolutionary…blazing talent! One of the most distinctive, talented performers we’ve featured.”
-Elise MacDonald, Founder/Owner of Studio 99 (Nashua, NH)
“An amazing musician…This man needs no accompaniment. Probably one of the most interesting musicians we’ve had here…”
-KQCA/KCRA Channel 3 News (Sacramento, CA)
“In the five years that I’ve been working here, I’ve seen two standing ovations, ever. One of them was tonight.”
-Sound Technician at Tupelo Music Hall Open Mic, immediately following Ian’s featured set (Londonderry, NH)
“Simply Amazing…I feel like I am witnessing something that’s brand new. I’m not aware of anyone that’s doing anything like this.”
-Mark Michaelis – WGDR Goddard Radio 91.1 FM (Plainfield, VT)