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Newton Faulkner Heading To New Zealand

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Newton Faulkner
Newton Faulkner

British acoustic guitarist Newton Faulkner returns to New Zealand this weekend for concerts in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. RACHEL PINDER of NZPA caught up with him.

Auckland, April 11 NZPA - Newton Faulkner didn't let a broken wrist get in the way of doing what he loves most -- playing the guitar.

Faulkner broke his wrist and dislocated his right hand on Boxing Day, 2008. He says that's why his second album -- the follow-up to 2007's million-selling debut album Hand Built By Robots - is called Rebuilt By Humans.

"I'd gone on a family holiday to France," Faulkner says.

"I wasn't skiing because I didn't want to risk anything -- I was starting the album two days after I got back -- but I slipped and landed really badly."

Instead of having his hand in a cast for two-and-a-half months, Faulkner heard of a new treatment in Britain using a special plate to bond the shattered bone.

But French doctors told him he couldn't fly unless they manipulated the bone away from the nerves.

"It was the most painful thing I'd ever encountered," he says, stroking the fat scar running across his wrist.

"My reaction was not what I would have expected. Yeah, it was agony, but I was just impressed that that much signal could be sent to your brain in one go. Instead of screaming or crying I was going 'wooooooah, that was amazing!'," he says.

Back in the UK, his wrist was sliced open and a plate bolted to the bones using nine pins and within a matter of days Faulkner was sneakily playing guitar again, his own form of do-it-yourself physiotherapy.

And now, almost 18 months later, he says his wrist is absolutely fine.

Faulkner returns to New Zealand off the back of his second album, a sell-out UK tour, and a just finished tour of Australia. His first visit to the country was for Bluesfest 08.

"I'm really excited. I never had that much time in New Zealand last time. I've actually got a day off between gigs, so I get to do something," he says.

But Faulkner isn't sure what that something will be.

But the desire to bungy jump has disappeared after the broken wrist.

"I've realised my own fragility," he says.

Faulkner is no stranger to festivals, having played at Britain's legendary Glastonbury several times, as well as many other UK festivals.

"Festivals are my favourite thing. And festivals in New Zealand are pretty much a given that they're going to be fun," he says.

So what can fans expect from his New Zealand gigs?

"The stuff I'm doing at the moment involves guitar and organ pedals that I'm using to play like a giant keyboard. But I'm also using them to trigger audio and visual samples with my feet, which is quite a strange thing to be doing but I can't think of any other way to do it."

The New Zealand shows will include a mixture of material from both albums, as well as some new songs.

At just 25, Newton Faulkner has already shared a stage with James Morrison, John Mayer, Chris Martin, Paolo Nutini, The Fray, and John Butler Trio.

He says his music style was always going to be an ever-changing thing.

"There's a lot of stuff on the second album which is a lot more difficult to play than the first album. But there's nothing which sounds as difficult as the first. It's got better but also subtler, which is possibly a bad thing."

Touring in different countries has also shaped his music.

"Seeing how people in different places react is definitely shaping what I do. The travelling in itself just makes me happy, I like being in a different place every day - the challenge of picking up different bits of different languages all the time, I love it."

Faulkner was nominated for a Brit Award in the Best Male category in 2008, and he's known for his inventive cover versions including his haunting version of Massive Attack's Teardrop.

"I chuck a lot of covers around. To be honest, when I go on I don't have a plan. There's a section where I can play whatever I feel like playing. I do just make it up as I go along," he said.

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