Elephant King

Trace Bundy

United Interests Records, 2012


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The world-renowned “Acoustic Ninja,” guitar virtuoso Trace Bundy, returns with his fifth album to date. The supremely talented songwriter expands on his always-impressive capo work and lightning-quick finger picking on this disc.

Longtime fans will appreciate the intimate and raw textures akin to his earlier work featured on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Elephant King, while those more aligned with the sophistication of his later period will also find plenty worth delving into.  “Elephant King” opens up the disc with plenty of percussion and harmony attached to his meticulous songcraft, a track that truly exemplifies his unique style. The following track, “Joy & Sorrow,” hosts two guitars, one guitar playing over the another looping, while Bundy moves back and forth between the guitars in a very casual way.

Though his guitar acrobatics are always the focal point, here Bundy switches gears on occasion with a violin in the ballad “Be Still.” Further deviation comes in “Adventures In Sawyerland,” a song about Bundy’s newborn son, which hosts a ukulele. Sound-wise, he also keeps the listener guessing, as “Traverse” moves at a quick pace with a Spanish feel. Nearly the direct opposite, “Coronation” is a laid back, folk-like tune, yet it is still very playful.

It’s actually pretty remarkable that Bundy hasn’t seen mainstream success yet. With over 20 million YouTube views, sold out shows in over 20 countries, and endless praise in plenty of glossy magazines, Bundy’s unparalleled guitar work has undeniably struck a chord with legions of fans. Perhaps his best work to date, Elephant King does a great job of bridging the gap between all the phases of his career into one cohesive listen. Even if you’re not a fan of instrumental music, it’s pretty hard not to find yourself enamored with these carefully calculated gems. This release comes with a DVD of a live set filmed at The Majestic Boulder Theater, too.  

Rating: B+

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of United Interests Records, and is used for informational purposes only.