One of the appeals of country and roots music is it’s feeling of time-worn familiarity. The rough croon about lost love and bottomless whisky glasses feel like a well worn leather chair. But sometimes someone comes along and fucks the whole thing up. Yeah all the bits are there, fiddle, crooner, stand up bass, dobro – but things are well, all askew. These guilty parties dwell in the lands of country and some hyphenated shadow region – electonica, jazz, and (shudder) rap. Jim White, Buck 65 and Hank III are examples of these genre straddlers, now they have company with Suger Hill recording artist Casey Driessen. The 27-year old Chicago native is a top notch fiddler (he got his first fiddle when he was six) a Berklee College of Music grad, toured China on an embassy sponsored excursion, and recorded on the soundtrack for the Johnny Cash movie Walk the Line and appeared with Steve Earle’s Bluegrass Dukes – needless to say this guy is not your run of the mill fiddler’s fare.
The styles on his newest release “3-D” are all over the place – Irish jigs, complex jazz arrangements, swamp folk and western swing – and it all works in spite of itself. There’s something daring and dangerous about the music – taking something so solid, so defined and turning it on it’s ear all without a net.
Let’s hope that “3-D” injects new life into the roots and Americana genre like Mile’s Davis’ “Bitches Brew” and the Allman Brothers “Eat A Peach” changed everything that came after.