Barry Saunders started his music career in Christchurch. His first public performance was singing “Green –back Dollar” at the Lincoln Coronation Hall, aged 11. He played around Christchurch, in mostly blues-based bands, during his teenage years. He sailed on the good ship Australis to the UK in 1974. He played the Irish Trad and Country circuit in London for 3 years. He returned to New Zealand, and joined Wellington band Rockinghorse for a brief time. This was followed by a stint in the Tigers, travelling to Australia with them and touring relentlessly, including an Australia-wide tour with Eric Burdon. Upon his return to Wellington in 1987, he formed the Warratahs. The band became known for Saunders’ compositions, such as “Maureen”, “Hands of my Heart”, “St. Peter’s Rendezvous” and many others. After 9 albums, they are still very much alive.
He recorded solo albums Weatherman, Red Morning, and Zodiac, touring them extensively. Barry has appeared on the bill with Tony J. White, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Jock Cocker, and has also performed at SXSW in Austin, Texas. The last 3 years have included the Church Tour (alongside Marlon Williams, Tami Nielson and Delaney Davidson), and the Last Waltz Tour, celebrating and performing the songs of The Band. In 2019 he released the highly acclaimed album Word Gets Around, an album written and recorded with Delaney Davidson. In 2019 Barry was commissioned by Kokomai – Wairarapa Creative Festival to develop a touring performance designed for presentation in small rural halls. He created As Far As The Eye Can See with Ebony Lamb and Caroline Easther.
For their collaboration Word Gets Around, Delaney Davidson & Barry Saunders received the 2020 Tui for Recorded Music NZ’s Best Country Artist.