Sunday, January 20, 2013

Casey Driessen: A Singular Fellow

It was a special treat to see fiddler extraordinaire Casey Dreissen at
Chautauqua Community House in Boulder. He calls his solo tour the
"Singularity Tour," and it is not inaccurate to say that you will be
pulled into his event horizon before you can say, "I like those red
shoes. . ." I'd met Casey at RockyGrass fiddle camp last summer.

Casey introduced his band, composed of three pedal boards that he
kicked and tapped throughout the performance to record and play loops,
vocals, and percussive sounds.

He opened with a medley of my favorite fiddle tunes, starting with
the haunting "Sally in the Garden." Casey has perfected a unique
rhythmic "chop" sound that evokes trains, drums, and even branches
scraping windows in the wind.

Casey's versions of Stevie Wonder's "Living (Just Enough) for the City," and
Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" are big crowd pleasers. There's
nothing like that little spine-tingling fiddle glissando in BJ.

Casey introduced a new composition that he wrote while marooned for
four days during Hurricane Irene. Called "The Heartbeat Kid," it is
based on the sonogram of his infant daughter's rapid heartbeat before she
was born. It is an amazingly gorgeous piece, alternately filled with
Phillip Glass-like frenetic counterpoint, as you "see" the tremendous
activity that is creation and growth, then slow, sentimental passages
filled with love and expectation.

Check out Casey's Drummer Project with Austin, Texas drummers, fiddle/sticks.
It's nice to see the Austin connection, since we just
got back from the AMS annual meeting there and had the opportunity to
walk up and down Sixth Street and fill our ears with good stuff. Hope we'll
be seeing a new album from him soon.

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