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Ian Ethan: About

Acoustic Double-Neck Guitarist Ian Ethan Case began a journey into truly uncharted territory when he picked up this seldom-seen 18-string instrument in 2005, two years after leaving the Berklee College of Music. While most who venture to play the instrument are either baffled by or unaware of the possibilities that it offers (its history seems to peg it as more of a stage prop than a valid musical tool), for him it is simply “the most effective and intuitive means I’ve found to translate into sound the things I’m hearing in my head.”

Praised by multiple Emmy-winning producer/composer Peter Bruce Wilder and featured on radio and tv stations from New England to California, the 31-year-old recently released a new album in September (2012) and continues to perform at festivals, music conferences, in schools and public libraries, and in listening rooms and small theaters around the country such as The Center for the Arts (Grass Valley, CA), Arsenal Center for the Arts (Boston, MA), Davies Hall (Grand Rapids, MN), Salem Theatre (Salem, MA), State Theater (Auburn, CA), Harlow’s (Sacramento, CA), Sunapee Coffeehouse (Sunapee, NH), and Chandler Center for the Arts (Randolph, VT), to name a few. In January 2013 Ian was invited to perform at the premier event of the annual NAMM show in Anaheim CA, sharing the stage with such artists as Robben Ford, Victor Wooten, Mimi Fox, and Stanley Jordan as part of Muriel Anderson's All-Star Guitar Night.

Drawing on a diverse musical background that saw him taking piano lessons at the age of five and later studying drumset, orchestral percussion, saxophone, electric guitar and bass, Ian Ethan’s strikingly-unconventional, self-invented approach to the double-neck guitar is both magical to hear and fascinating to watch. And while his performances are visually intriguing to say the least, it is not showmanship but rather the sincere desire to accurately communicate the harmonically rich, multi-layered music of his composing (or “discovery”, as he refers to the process) that has impelled him every step of the way.

At times intensely percussive and complex rhythmically, Ian’s music is just as often spacious, delicate, and melodic, pulling listeners along with him Into Open Land (the title of his 2008 debut.) Today his performances take this already multi-layered, three-dimensional sound and multiply it exponentially with his well-polished and highly musical employment of an electronic looping device. This device allows him to record the phrases that he performs live on the spot, and instantly layer and re-trigger those phrases to create colorful, deep, and wide-ranging music that extends far beyond the typical reach of a solo artist. Multiple simultaneous melodies, rhythms, and harmonies weave in and out of eachother, often re-emerging slightly transformed in a subsequent piece until all of the ideas seem to merge into one grand realization of connectivity.

Often starting out with solo pieces and gradually threading a course toward breathtaking musical summits built on countless layers of live-overdubbed harmonies, his concerts are far more than mere demonstrations of technical innovation and personal skill. Each performance is a genuine embrace of every audience member and an irresistible invitation to come along on a journey into a world unseen. And ultimately, it is the experience of that epic journey, more than his virtuosity and technical innovation, which leaves audiences in a profound state of wonder; often temporarily speechless, exhilirated and inspired all at the same time.

As one first-time listener in California commented: “Ian’s music is phenomenal - watching him play is not ‘listening to music’...it’s a full mind experience. Transporting.”

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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)

“Ian played to a full room and wow’d us all. There were all ages in attendance and he held our attention from start to finish, not an easy feat for an instrumentalist. Ian’s a superb musician and a friendly, thoughtful guest. He gave us a wonderful concert. Highly recommended!”

-Jeff Robertson of Concerts In Your Home / ListeningRoomNetwork.com

“When the Auburn Community Concert Association presented the Guitar Extravaganza, we showcased the ten best jazz and classical guitarists in Northern California. Ian Ethan was one of those guitarists, and he almost stole the show. He is the best new young guitarist in the region!”

-Dean Prigmore, Past President, Auburn Community Concert Association (Auburn, CA)

“One of my all time favorite DreamFarm guest musicians.”

-DreamFarm Radio (Hollis, NH Concert Series and Syndicated Radio Show) Founder and Host, Julie Lavender

What First-Time Listeners Are Saying:


“...I experienced new music that was completely enthralling...Through most of the hour-and-a-half concert I was alternately trying to figure out how he was playing the instrument and amazed at the incredible variety of sounds he coaxed out of it. And then, seeking an even wider variety of sounds, he performed on the fretless guitar and the kalimba. “I left with the distinct feeling that my life had been enriched. The others who gave him a standing ovation must have agreed.”

-Concertgoer and Music Blogger Dick Frantzreb

“OK. That was an AMAZING concert. I was completely mesmerized. Extreme virtuosity. I loved his music. If he comes back to the area I definitely want to see him play again. It went beyond magical. His music enriches those who hear it. Truly a divine gift.”
-Concertgoer in CA

“Really really fantastic. Crazy stuff. He just hugs this guitar and his hands are dancing all over the place. At one point, I saw each hand on each fret[board], and then he was stretching out his thumb from the bottom fret[board] to the top one and was strumming the top fret[board], so he was playing in three different places.”
-Band/Musician Photographer Sid Ceaser (Nashua, NH)

“Music in general is an universal language, but music like yours takes it a step farther...to the far reaches of the soul. Thanks for sharing your passion with us all.
Warm regards, Gary & Deb”
(CA)

“My husband & I were lucky enough to catch your concert at the Salem Theatre Company last night - wow. You are incredibly talented and creative and we know we will be hearing a lot more about you. You are breaking new ground and your music is quite spiritual to our ears!”
-David and Terry (Gloucester, MA)

“As a twelve string and six string guitarist myself, I truly appreciate your new style of playing the double neck guitar without using picks or finger picking. The style is truly revolutionary in its sound and melodic movement. It paints imagery and truly harvests the purest of music into beautiful chords and transcends it into a new level of powerful music.”
-Tom Fitzgerald (Guestbook entry on IanEthan.com)

“Reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite artists, Michael Hedges, I was blown away when I heard you on KQCA. You are absolutely amazing and you will go far!”
Christine (CA)

“Breathtaking and magical. A messenger through music.”
- Patricia A., concertgoer in CA

What YouTube Is Saying:

“I saw Ian at Colby-Sawyer and it was amazing to hear live. Thank you for coming to our small college, you made my night a lot better with your amazing talent. :)”

-burgundyblood

“Very incredible playing. I have been playing 35 years... I am shocked at your rhythm and timing, the scales, and the inflection/accents are truly amazing. You should never be compared to anyone. You play just like ‘Ian’...”

-FullEffectDJ

“Saw him friday the 7th,,...just an amazing young talent and a humble kid to boot :-) he rocks the kalimba, as well...”
-cindarellalifestyle

“I just saw Ian last night. Anyone who has seen this video or seen him in person, TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS!!”
-Indarog

“Wonderfully Innovative work! Will be watching your calendar to see you when you play locally again - would love to see this live. :)”

-capstoned

“Very impressive musician! All who attended the Lakeview Lodge in Bethany, CT had a wonderful music experience.”
-camerakate

“This guy is awesome, when he played he got the only standing ovation of the night, his style is 100% unique and he leaves you breathless when you see him live. Awesome.”

-davemeyler

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PAST PERFORMANCES (Selected)


Performing Arts Centers
The Center for the Arts, Grass Valley CA
Auburn-Placer Performing Arts Center, Auburn CA
River Arts, Morrisville VT
Bethany Center for the Arts, Montpelier VT
Chandler Center for the Arts, Randolph VT
Salem Theatre, Salem MA
Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown MA

Festivals, Conferences, & Concert Series
Muriel Anderson's All-Star Guitar Night (Jan. 2013)
The NAMM Show Breakfast Sessions (Jan. 2013)
Music of the Spheres Concert Series @ Lick Observatory, Mt. Hamilton CA
Northwest Guitars Concert Series, Seattle WA
KOSA Music Festival, Johnson VT
Vermont SolarFest, Tinmouth VT
ConserFest, Block Island, RI
Weston Library Concert Series, Weston MA
Guitar Extravaganza X & XI, Auburn CA
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA
Pacific Fine Arts Festival, Squaw Valley CA
Northeast Climate Change Conference, Boston MA
Tahoe Trails & Vistas Art Hike 2009 & 2010 Tahoe Donner CA

Colleges, Schools & Summer Camps

Boston University, Boston, MA
Colby Sawyer College, New London, NH
North Central College, Naperville IL
Principia College, Elsah IL
Principia Upper School, St. Louis MO
Itasca Community College, Grand Rapids MN
Dr. John C. Page School, West Newbury MA
Burke Mountain Academy, East Burke VT
Camps Newfound/Owatonna, Harrison ME
Kearsarge Regional Elementary School, New London NH
South Tahoe HS, South Lake Tahoe CA

House Concerts

San Juan, CA
Fairfax, CA
ArtMusic Coffeehouse, East Stroudsburg, PA
Mahtomedi, MN
Boston, MA
Hospitality House, Pittsburgh, PA
”The Church”, San Anselmo CA
Dream Farm Cafe, Hollis NH
The heARTbeat Collective, Jamaica Plain MA
Hip House Cooperative, Berkley, CA
Amherst, NH
Framingham, MA
Lincoln, NE
Evanston, IL

Coffeehouses & Other Listening Rooms
Hyde Park Opera House, Hyde Park VT
Tupelo Music Hall, Londonderry NH
Sunapee Coffeehouse, Sunapee NH
Bistro In Vivo, Montreal, Canada
Milkboy Acoustic Cafe, Philadelphia PA
Harlow’s, Sacramento CA
Blue Six Center, San Francisco CA
Missouri History Museum, St. Louis MO
Music Villa, Bozeman MT
Pegasus Coffee House, Bainbridge Island WA
Studio 99, Nashua NH
Blue, Portland ME
The Lily Pad, Boston, MA
Lakeview Lodge/Bethany Concert Series, Bethany CT
Folsom Community Center and Art Gallery, Folsom CA
Nectar’s, Burlington VT
Sesko Art Gallery, Truckee CA
Beaner’s Central, Duluth MN
2nd Congregational Church concert series, Hyde Park VT
Lafayette Christian Science Society, St. Louis MO
First Church of Christ, Scientist, Grass Valley CA
The Mother Church / First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston MA
Bethany Church / Bethany Center for the Arts, Montpelier VT
First Baptist Church, Truckee CA

Radio & Television In-Studio Features

KCRA-TV Channel 3 News, Sacramento CA
GMATV, Morrisville VT
CCTV, Cambridge, MA
KSOR/JPR, Ashland, OR
KTKE-FM Truckee, CA
WTCC-FM Springfield MA
KAXE-FM Grand Rapids MN
KVMR-FM Nevada City CA
WGDR-FM, Plainfield VT
WLVB-FM, Morrisville VT
KCSC Chico, CA
DreamFarm Radio (Syndicated Public Radio Program)
NPR's "Here & Now" (Nationally broadcast)