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SAMPLER 2005

Steve Unruh

Prog Folk


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Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This FREE sampler may not be ESSENTIAL, but it may be near excellent as an addition to your PROG collection. Steve Unruh is a multi-instrumentalist based in acoustic instruments. He is a virtuouso on guitar and violin and excels on every other instrument on the MP3's. Vocally, he's similar to Guy Manning and Kevin Gilbert. Musically, a prog version of the Dave Matthews Band. I say this because of the standout violin playing over an acoustic backdrop. His acoustic guitar playing would make Dave Matthews cry with jealousy, though, this guy smokes.

From the chunky openning of Square 1, Unruh rips on acoustic and trades solos between harmonica and violin. The drum track simply vibrates the hell out of my speakers with bass guitar thrumming along like a locomotive. Consolation is introduced through a soft fingerpicked acoustic, a very James Taylor/Cat Stevens styled mood piece. A simple singer/songwriter tune. Lovely. Waiting has one of the most endearing melodies that I've heard in a long time. acoustic guitar plays the theme and violin comes in to command the melody. Hand percussions carry the music along. Breaking Free and Song to the Sky are long multi-part suites with melodies a'plenty. The music never bores, you want to hear whats coming next.

Also available at the artists website is another MP3, Lotus Victorius, eight minutes of wonderful prog-folk. This sampler made me hungry enough to order three of Mr. Unruh's CDs and hand the sampler off to a friend who would appreciate it.

Did I mention that it's FREE?

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Send comments to Dan Bobrowski (BETA) | Report this review (#35109)
Posted Wednesday, June 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is quite unique as all instruments and vocal were done by one man. The music of Steve Unruh reminds me influences from classic bands like Jethro Tull, Golden Earring and also Kevin Gilbert. The first track "Square" reminds me of that. The music is almost all based on acoustic guitar rhythm section with classical music influence. The way he plays his guitar also reminds me to the work of Paco Delucia. The second track "Song to the Sky (first part of title track)" (12:52) is unique and rich in textures even though almost all involve acoustic guitar work. The acoustic guitar work combined with cello at this track is really stunning. These first two tracks are really stunning and enjoyable.

"The Clouds from Yesterday" (2:25) features great flutework and dynamic bassline. This will remind you to Jethro Tull, obviously. His singing style at this track is very unique and energetic in style.

Overall, this SAMPLER would satisfy those of you who enjoy acoustic guitar exploration, both in mellow as well as upbeat style.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#120968)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars I promised to myself to review more material from Steve Unruh clearly because I believe is an artist who needs the attention of the prog audience. A one-man-band, Steve, delivers acoustic prog-folk with great virtuosity and, most of all, PASSION! This CD sampler, like numerous others, can be found in his official website and is free to download.

The music presented in this sampler is not far off the Sampler 2007 which I have previously appreciated. Steve combines acoustic guitars with violin, flute and all sorts of interesting instruments to deliver an attractive and powerful compilation. In addition, his melodic vocals with a strong American influence fit perfectly with the result, reminding slightly of Guy Manning (already referred at another review).

The sampler consists of two relatively long songs and four short ones. Although strictly acoustic, the music does not get tiring at any moment, mainly because the songs are performed with great pace and 'liveliness'. The excerpts from Song to the sky and Breaking free (the longest tracks) are the most interesting with lots of variations and dominant beautiful melodies - a similarity with Sampler 2007 where again the longest tracks were the highlights. The difference in this sampler is that there are strong elements of Spanish guitar-playing (ala De Lucia and Di Meola). This latter element adds more 'spice' to his music in my opinion.

A few Jethro Tull moments (The clouds from yesterday), mixed with some Hispanic fusion, are more than welcome. It is also interesting to observe the variations between powerful up-beat acoustic tracks (opening) and mellower, more melodic tunes that reveal the artist's more sentimental aspect (Consolation, Waiting). Overall, a more interesting compilation than Sampler 2007, highly recommended to fans of CHALLENGING acoustic music.

Regardless of the rating, this is better than 'good but non-essential' and free...

PS From the two Song to the sky parts I have listened to, I assume that the respective album would be worth a listen...

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#231757)
Posted Saturday, August 15, 2009 | Review Permalink

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