Trace Bundy, Elephant King as reviewed in Phantom TollboothTo the uninitiated, Trace Bundy could well be Michael Hedges reincarnated.

Elephant King

Artist: Trace Bundy   
Label:  United Interest
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Duration:  11 tracks, 43:40

Bundy is an acoustic guitar instrumentalist who not only has learned to emit pure emotion from unheard of wonderings along the frets but has conquered the use of creating well-matched percussion from the hollow body of his guitar while working wonders from the strings. Among his contemporaries, he has few peers. As a Christian, he has praise and grace in his offerings of art, much like Keith Cooper before his retirement.

Between stints with his music, Bundy shares mission work with his wife which in turn gives him inspiration for new musical direction. This, his fifth offering, has proven to being among his best. As with his Mission Bell offering, this CD comes with a DVD. To witness truly gifted acoustic guitar work, carefully and joyfully watch this DVD!  

Bundy successfully creates the mood per title as found on the album’s namesake “Elephant King,” a rolling romp like the Keystone Cops of old - fun and lively. This is a great sampling of his signature finger work and hand percussion on acoustic guitar. “Joy & Sorrow” is a moderately paced work with background guitar work like a clock’s workings while the lead guitar depicts the hastening of time, followed by “Traverse,” a light and delicate piece with slight percussion and Spanish overtones. The feeling and flow of the better days of youth is found in “Tres Capos,” full of freedom and discovery with Spanish guitar-like moments.

“Timepiece” shows percussion and string work extraordinaire, like the unraveling of time. “Adventures in Sawyerland” is Huck Finn wondering downstream, full of adventure with great underlying horns. Diversity is at work with “Be Still,” a slow, meandering harlequinesque piece with strings giving the feeling of a mid-evil dream and “Overtime,” like working hard and fast way past the end of day. Here, the guitar sets the pace while the percussion gives the fast heartbeat created by the pace, look for a great ending. “Bongolo “ gives unique percussion laying the foundation for the song’s energy and life. The finale is set with “Coronation,” a peaceful remembrance, and ”Anchor,” having a background synth setting up a melancholy tone, with the guitar giving a hopeful turn. This piece is a fitting conclusion to an emotionally laced piece of artistry.

Can anything be finer than the true emotion found within a wonderfully crafted, intrinsically delicate instrumental?  Elephant King is this fine.  A fine piece of praise for Bundy to give to the King he puts his faith in.

Scott S Mertens