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3D

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Casey Driessen jumped onto the national scene playing fiddle with Steve Earle before setting out to make his own mark on Nashville. Driessen is now on the forefront of the young hot pickers coming out of the acoustic scene there - comfortably taking his place among the next wave of extraordinary musicians in line with Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck and Mark O'Connor. Like these luminaries, Driessen is poised to alter the sound of music as a uniquely distinguished instrumentalist with his solo album debut 3D! Driessen is the charismatic young fiddler making his presence known throughout major festivals across the country including Merlefest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and Telluride among others.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 9, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugar Hill
  • ASIN: B000F3UABG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,229 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J. Ross on June 4, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Playing Time - 56:13 -- "3-D" is a most appropriate title for Casey Driessen's solo project that showcases his great depth and comfort with multiple musical dimensions from many genres. Born in Chicago, this young man of 27 is a grad with honors from the Berklee School of Music, and his music tells me that he's a young innovator with plenty of raw energy and a brash attitude. He hasn't gotten so far out there that I'd call him an impudent, irreverent or disrespectful whipper-snapper. Instead, his creativity emits infectious spunk on complete reinventions of some traditional fiddle tunes (Jerusalem Ridge, Sugarfoot Rag, Snowflake Reel, Done Gone, Cheyenne, Sally in the Garden), as well as plenty of his own surreal and evocative compositions. Based on the old-time "Cumberland Gap," a new tune emerges called "Gaptooth." You may not even recognize the heads of some of the original tunes when they're presented as fiddle and drum duets. The results elevate Casey's status as a visionary who communicates a respect for traditional music in his own uniquely personalized manner with syncopated rhythms and improvisation. Multi-tracking his 5-string (or electric) fiddle creates some deliriously fun polyphonic sprees. Does he get a little too far out there and away from the original melodic inspiration at times? OK, maybe just a tad.

There are beautifully melancholic (and melodic) moments in "2 A.M.," and there's soulful loveliness in a piece like "Cliff Dweller's Slide." Driessen sings Sugarfoot Rag, Country Blues and Footsteps So Near. The equalization of his vocals is minimalist, and that adds to the overall mystery. The latter number, originally done as a waltz by Hot Rize, is actually a rawboned conversation between just Casey's fiddles and vocals.
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Format: Audio CD
Through his obviously rigorous study of his instrument and bluegrass/oldtime music, Casey Driessen has found new musical territory into which to step. 3D is a hip, tasteful, diverse and fun piece of work, which does not sound like your typical fiddle showcase record. This album gives the trad-n-true sounds of bluegrass and oldtime a 21st-century makeover, without losing the spirit of what made these genres great in the first place. It can be enjoyed as background music by those who like to bob their heads to a warm groove, and as an intricate, captivating soundscape by those who take their music listening more seriously. With 3D, Casey Driessen makes it feel cool to be a music geek, and I thank him for that.
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I think I came across Casey Driessen when his cover of the bluegrass classic "Jerusalem Ridge" from his previous album was someone's 'song' on their MySpace page. (hey, remember MySpace?)

Genre-defying as stated in the provided description is correct, which, sadly, will probably make this album difficult to sell, since there's really not a lot out there to compare it to. The fiddle is clearly star of the show here, and there are certainly are roots of bluegrass, blues, jazz, folk, and rock, but theres a lot of new-agey syth stuff going on too.

The songs tend all to follow a similar format; the same melody repeated each verse, each time adding another instrumental layer, until finally at the conclusion there is a wonderfully complex and satisfying composition.

I give this album four stars instead of five because, like all artists who define their styles through unique and unconventional approaches, Mr. Dreissen sometimes strays a bit too far afield. The first track, for example, starts off well enough, but then attempts to turn the fiddle into a percussion instrument with a strange sort of aggressive, rhythmic, scratching of the bow on the strings, which continues long after the novelty of it has worn off.

That said, the successes more than make up for the failures. Lunar Cages (I think probably Mr. Driessen's best work yet) and Uncontinental Breakfast for example, are completely unclassifiable, yet unmistakably beautiful, intricate pieces.

In sum, this is not a bluegrass lovers album, or a jazz lovers album, but a music lovers album. Though independent of genre, its complexity and Mr. Driessen's creativity and virtuosity make this an album that any connoisseur of music can appreciate.
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