Win tickets to see Bruce Mathiske

INDULGE yourself with the music of Bruce Mathiske at Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral on July 28.

Hear the magnificent guitar virtuoso in the only truly unplugged show of his Guitar-Uoso 2012 Australian tour.

LIVE has two double passes to the show to give away. To enter, send the keyword ‘‘mathiske’’, along with your name, address and phone number, via SMS to 0427 842 179 or email livefreebies@theherald.com.au.

Mathiske's music to 'swim' in cathedral

THE career of the Hunter’s own guitar virtuoso, Bruce Mathiske, has spanned more than three decades and included performances in the US, Japan, Europe and at internationally renowned festivals.

But as he prepares to embark on his Guitar-Uoso tour of the east coast of Australia, the musician is reflecting on that career through an album which could be the pinnacle of all his achievements.

‘‘It’s the most special, remarkable thing I’ve ever done,’’ Mathiske told LIVE.

‘‘The working title is My Life, and it actually has some really significant parts. It’s instrumental, but documents some really significant milestones in what has happened on my path and journey.

‘‘I’ve never been so excited about a project that I’ve done – ever.’’

The musician explained that the album had been a chance to reflect: ‘‘You forget your path because you’re always trying to be with the present and what’s going on in the future.’’ But it was also a reminder that his passion for guitar has not waned, despite more than 42 years having passed since he began playing.

‘‘It’s strange, over that time, how so many things haven’t altered. I still like to pick it up every day and play it. I was compelled to play it as a kid – a seven-year-old – and that’s never altered,’’ he said.

‘‘I still find new things to do. It’s just limitless and I just feel like I’m always beginning again. It might be one song, one rhythm, one groove that you hear and you’re just away again. It’s just amazing.’’

Over his career Mathiske has not only developed skills which mean he can simultaneously play lead, rhythm and bass, but he has also embraced a myriad of genres. That freedom has helped him stay inspired.

‘‘I play everything I love to play. No one forces me to play any one thing, so I’m free. I think that’s the most important thing with any craft and music is no different,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve gone through so many different stages. I’ve gone Cuban-mad, African-mad, then Latin American-mad. I immerse myself and some of it sticks and goes into the melting pot and ends up being me.

‘‘I think that’s what keeps you young and fresh, the fact that you’re still looking for things and still learning.’’

With learning comes practice, and Mathiske – who famously practised up to 10hours a day in years past – still chalks up about sixhours a day ‘‘no worries’’.

He has a holistic approach to playing, saying that his lifestyle and fitness help his body cope with the rigours of playing for hours a day. He’s even showing up the young guns of guitar.

‘‘I have a couple of students and they’re always complaining about it. It’s because they don’t do enough normal activity. They might sit on their computer and sit and play guitar but it’s not enough, it’s a whole mind, body, soul, spirit thing,’’ Mathiske said.

Speaking of spirit, the guitar virtuoso is playing at Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral next week, which will be the sixth or seventh time he has played in the iconic building.

Mathiske began his solo career in Newcastle (‘‘whatever I’ve done, Newcastle people have always supported me and it’s fantastic’’) and is looking forward to playing in the cathedral.

‘‘It is incredible and it’s the only place I ever play truly unplugged. I don’t have an amplifier, I actually play acoustic, and it’s the only show I ever do like that,’’ he explained.

‘‘It is a totally different experience playing it, it took me a while to get it.’’

The acoustics of the cathedral are like no other venue, so Mathiske tailors the set to suit.

‘‘Something special happens with the ballads, rather than the virtuoso pieces, they just seem to swim in the space,’’ he said.

Bruce Mathiske will play at Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, July 28. Tickets available at bruceguitar.com.

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