Trace Bundy

Dean Zulich Photography

Dean Zulich Photography

By Ben Doy

Internationally-acclaimed guitar virtuoso Trace Bundy is heading to New Zealand to play four shows throughout the country. 

Bundy has a unique sound; described as poetry in motion, using harmonics, looping and the use of multiple capos,. 

I had a chat with Trace ahead of his tour here this August. 

How did you first get into playing the guitar? 

It was kind of by accident. My brother and I were walking around our little town and there was a yard sale. The guy there was selling a little acoustic guitar for $10. We literally each had $5 in our pockets, so we chipped in and bought this guitar. On the way home we bought this guitar magazine... it was a heavy metal magazine which taught you how to play five metal songs. The first on the list was 'One' by Metallica. So on this little acoustic guitar we learnt how to play this Metallica song! And it kind of kept going from there. 

Then I started writing my own songs and figuring these out of the box techniques; hitting the guitar like percussion with two handed tapping, and it grew into it's own thing. 

Who were your early influences and guitar heroes? 

I listened to a lot of old classic rock and folk. Things like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, while on the acoustic side it was Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan and The Beatles. I started figuring out these chord progressions and finger picking patterns, and after that got into a guy called Phil Keaggy who is just a phenomenal guitarist. It wasn't until kind of later I learnt about a guy called Michael Hedges, who is kind of the father of the style of two handed acoustic guitar playing. And Tommy Emmanuel from Australia... but that was kinda a lot later in life. 

Do you remember your first performance? 

Yeah, it was at a coffee shop in a little town I grew up in back in Colorado. We set up the tip jar and it was just me and one of my buddies. And we just played a few little songs. 

One that I remember a little bit better was when I first wrote one of these two handed tapping songs. I just didn't even know if it was cool or if it was really weird. I just remember playing it in that same coffee shop and I got like a standing ovation from the people in there. And I thought "Wow, this must be something cool that I've discovered". It kind of sparked my interest in really playing outside the box. 

You've performed with some amazingly talented artists on stage. Who have been some of your favourites? 

So many fun moments for sure. Guitarist wise, I played on stage with Phil Keaggy - who I mentioned earlier. One of my favourite singer / songwriters is a guy named David Wilcox, and I got to bring him to Boulder Colorado to do a show with me. That was pretty cool! 

And then there have been fun kinda bigger names like Judy Collins and Brandi Carlile, who I both really like. But I've gotten to play almost all over the world now; minus New Zealand (laughs).  Each place that I go there's usually a local artist or someone that's pretty popular in that country that I get to play with. So it's been pretty fun. 

Dean Zulich Photography

Dean Zulich Photography

So this will be your first time here? 

My very first time! I've played in 26 countries now but have never made it to New Zealand. So this is my first time, I'm so excited! 

Do you think you'll get a chance to have a look around? 

I have a couple of days off between Australia and New Zealand, and I'd love to see the natural beauty of and spend as much time as I can just soaking in the culture. 

What can we expect from your shows in NZ? 

I'm going to be doing a really fun set. There will be a lot of crowd interaction and a lot of humour built in. I'm just now working on a Crowded House song, which I hope will go over well. My goal is always that everyone walks out of the room with a big smile on their face. 

Do you have a favourite that you like to perform live? 

I have a song called 'Joy And Sorrow' that I wrote a little while back. It's probably my favourite to play. I put two guitars in front of me and one of them kind of represents the joy and the other one the sorrow. It's fun to play because I have to keep track of which guitar I'm on and grab it at the right second. That's probably my favourite. 

Trace Bundy

Thursday August 18th: The Globe Theatre, Palmerston North 

Friday August 19th: The Centennial Hall Auckland Boys Grammar, Auckland 

Saturday August 20th: The Middleton Grange Theatre, Christchurch

Sunday August 21st: Memorial Auditorium Victoria University, Wellington

Tickets via Brown Paper Tickets ( All shows are All Ages)