Amazing Guitar Virtuoso — Ian Ethan ; 18-string acoustic double-neck guitar (watch the video)
Oct 21 2015 Stewart Irvine
Boston-based multi-instrumentalist Ian Ethan, best known for his innovative approach to the 18-string acoustic double-neck guitar, has been performing in listening rooms around 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.
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 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 instrumentâ€¦the original music of Ian Ethan 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 international solo bass icon and innovator Michael Manring and Grammy Award-winning reed player Paul McCandless (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Paul Winter Consort), 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 (Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, My Morning Jacket), Nathaniel Smith (Chris Thile, 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 nationwide 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, with a planned album and international touring to follow.
A coast-to-coast tour is planned for Sept./Oct. 2015 in support of Ian’s most recent solo album “Run Toward The Mountains”, a double-disc album featuring the 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 the best 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 solo looping performers.
As one first-time listener in California exclaimed, “Ian’s music is phenomenal — watching him play is not ‘listening to music’â€¦it’s a full mind experience. Transporting.” — See more at: http://www.ianethan.com/about/#sthash.7wNqeBmy.dpuf
Stewart Irvine, stewarteirvine