Ethan Setiawan is a Boston-based mandolin player who’s won such accolades as the National Mandolin Championship, the RockyGrass Mandolin Championship, and a full-ride scholarship to Berklee College of Music. An involved member of the Boston alt-bluegrass scene, his path has wended its way through traditional bluegrass, to Bach partitas, to free jazz, and his debut full-length album is made up of original tunes drawing from all these wells. The album was conceived and crafted as a whole; the tunes were written for the band, who were chosen for the tunes. To write the album, he dove deep into the compositional techniques and tunes of some of the pioneers of the current wave of bluegrass: Bela Fleck, Matt Flinner, David Grisman and Mike Marshall, to name a few. After months of writing, discarding, and editing, a body of tunes emerged as clear candidates for a record. Over several years, the community around Ethan in the Northeast and Midwest evolved into the perfect band for a project such as this. The band features Julian Pinelli and Avery Merritt on fiddles, Sam Leslie on guitar, and Jacob Warren playing bass. Skilled engineer and mandolinist Dan Bui of Twisted Pine engineered and mixed the album. The recording process took place at the Record Company in Boston, and the resulting album contains close friends and bandmates, a batch of carefully crafted tunes, and the freshest grooves in bluegrass. He has shared the stage with Julian Lage, Darrell Scott, Bryan Sutton, Mike Marshall, the Steel Wheels, Casey Driessen, Don Stiernberg, Matt Flinner, and Jacob Jolliff, and has performed at venues such as Savannah Music Festival, IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Streetfest, Prairie Home Companion, the Walnut Valley Festival, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Freshgrass, the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, and Club Passim.
Ethan Setiawan’s tracks