‘Acoustic Ninja’ returning June 24

Published 7:01 pm Saturday, June 18, 2016

Even after traveling across the globe and back, Trace Bundy is excited to return to his hometown for a performance at 7 p.m. on June 24 at the Paramount Theater.

“I try to come here once a year,” Bundy said. “Paramount Theater is just beautiful and ornate. It’s a pleasure to come and play there.”

Bundy was born and raised in Austin before moving in fourth grade. He now lives in Boulder, Colorado, although he still has several relatives in town, including his grandma.

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When he was 10 years old, he bought his first guitar for $10.

“My brother and I both chipped in $5, and that’s how it all started,” he said.

Trace Bundy.  Photo by Colter Jones

Trace Bundy. Photo by Colter Jones

With lots of practice, Bundy realized he could play the guitar with only one hand, leaving his other hand open to do creative things, like a bass line or percussion.

“It allowed me to play guitar in a very unique way,” he said.

On his guitar, Bundy uses harmonics, looping and multiple capos to create his unique sound. His fans have dubbed him the “Acoustic Ninja” because of how much he can do on his guitar with just two hands and 10 fingers.

Jennie Knoebel, Austin ArtWorks Center Executive Director, believes his music has to be experienced in person to truly appreciate it.

“Just saying it’s acoustic guitar doesn’t give it justice,” she said. “It’s so much better to see him live to see how he makes the sound.”

A career in music wasn’t always in the picture for Bundy. He initially pursued a civil engineering degree at the University of Colorado and even worked as a professor before he chose to become a full-time performer.

“I had to make this decision: Do i keep this secure job, or do I give that up and hit the road full time as a musician?” Bundy said.

Since then, 11 years have passed and he has traveled all over the world with his unique sound. He has performed in a variety of venues, from high-tech performance halls in South Korea and Italy to small villages in Zimbabwe and Guatemala. For Bundy, traveling has been one of his favorite parts of his career.

“Each country is so different,” he said. “Those have been huge highlights.”

His international popularity came as a shock to Bundy at first. Before a performance in China, he recalls people standing in line and playing his songs on their guitar. Throughout the show, the audience would yell out song names they wanted him to perform, which surprised him as well.

“[I remember thinking], how do these people across the world know my music?” he said. “That just blows me away.”

Despite moving away, Bundy is still a familiar face in Austin, as he has performed at the Paramount and Austin ArtWorks Festival. According to Knoebel, all ages would enjoy the performance.

“Being able to see the music being produced is pretty amazing,” she said. “He has a great stage presence and is an overall great entertainer.”

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of, and all students are $5. Tickets can be purchased at the Austin ArtWorks Center or online at austinareaarts.org.

“It’s always really fun to go back to your roots and your hometown,” he said. “There’s something really special about that.”