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STEVE UNRUH

Prog Folk • United States


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Steve Unruh biography
Steve UNRUH has been producing some of the deepest, most organic true-to-life music around for nearly a decade. This one-man band draws influences from '70s progressive bands like YES and JETHRO TULL as well as the folk and bluegrass scenes. Blending an earthy, acoustic three-piece band sound with soaring violins, cheerful mandolin, flute, the occasional keyboard and electric guitar, and a voice falling somewhere between Jon ANDERSON and Ian ANDERSON, Steve UNRUH is sure to appeal to fans of any genre of rock, folk, bluegrass, and progressive music less abrasive than DREAM THEATER or SAVATAGE.

Steve UNRUH released "Believe?" in 1997, opening the door to a whole new genre. "Believe?" is Steve's most organic album to date, almost carrying the feel and dynamics of a classical album (don't worry, this is NOT a sleeper album!). "Believe?" is divided into two sections, the first resembling journal entries from a relationship on the rocks and the second the eventual resolution of the problems and a lifting of spirits. Highly recommended.

In 1998 came "The Beginning of a New Day," in which all the elements introduced on "Believe?" were honed and demonstrated in top form. The multi-layered vocal harmonies, the earthy rock feel, the well-timed massive orchestrations... all the cards were laid on the table here, and "The Beginning of a New Day" absolutely shines. For anyone looking for a place to start sampling STEVE's music, this is it. The entire spectrum is represented here, and beautifully so.

In 2001 came "Two Little Awakenings," essentially an album of mini-epics (and one not-so-mini epic) showcasing STEVE's intricate guitarwork and orchestration. The instrumental and thematic interplay on this album supercedes most mainline progressive concept albums, and the depth and beauty (oh, those violins!) will keep any listener entranced. For those looking to get at the heart of what STEVE UNRUH is about, who enjoy epic-length works with a lot going on under the surface, this is your dream come true.

2002 brought "Invisible Symphony," an instrumental album blending Classical, jazz, folk, world music, and rock in a sound both signature to Steve and not quite like anything else he'd recorded thus far. Fusion fans, take heed: this album rocks. There are both musical and emotional journeys to be had on this album. Very highly recommended.

2004 brought a departure from normal, the album "Out of the Ashes" that stands apart from the rest ...
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STEVE UNRUH discography


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STEVE UNRUH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.83 | 6 ratings
Believe ?
1997
3.43 | 7 ratings
The Beginning Of A New Day
1998
3.89 | 10 ratings
Two Little Awakenings
2001
3.18 | 9 ratings
Invisible Symphony
2002
3.98 | 12 ratings
Out Of The Ashes
2004
3.94 | 13 ratings
Song To The Sky
2005
4.45 | 20 ratings
The Great Divide
2007
4.05 | 49 ratings
Challenging Gravity
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Music from Air
2014

STEVE UNRUH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

STEVE UNRUH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STEVE UNRUH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 4 ratings
Sampler 2005
2005
3.05 | 3 ratings
Sampler 2007
2007
3.83 | 6 ratings
Songs From the Flowered Chair
2008
3.05 | 2 ratings
Sampler 2009
2009
5.00 | 2 ratings
Sampler 2010 (with Resistor)
2010

STEVE UNRUH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 4 ratings
Solo Classical Guitar (EP) (Free)
2005

STEVE UNRUH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Challenging Gravity by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.05 | 49 ratings

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Challenging Gravity
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars One talented man, one extraordinary album!

There are some people whose name is still unknown, whose music doesn't cross everybody's minds, but whose talent is invaluable. One of them is this Steve Unruh. A North American musician who has been creating exquisite music for a long time, his first solo album came out in 1997 with the title of Believe?, and now in this 2010 he has released his 8th studio album entitled "Challenging Gravity", an almost acoustic album that shows the sensibility and quality of this musician.

This album features eight songs and a total time of 50 minutes. It kicks off with "Twilight in India", which is a very nice melody where the acoustic guitar begins with a kind of Indian sound, a minute later the vocals appear and start a communication between guitar and voice, the mood is very calm until minute 3:20 when it turns more aggressive with the introduction of drums and a faster sound. The final minute is just as the song began, with that acoustic Indian guitar.

Now I am excited, because "Challenging Gravity" did something marvelous to me since the very first time I listened to it, and so far I could say it is my favorite song of the year. The music is totally different to the first song; here you will listen to several instruments that manage to excel no matter how high or low they sound, I mean, despite sounding all at the same time, you will notice every one of them and you will receive them with your open arms. The rhythm is faster but more exciting. The song's introduction finishes after a minute where there is a stop and Unruh's vocals appear. Then the song becomes friendlier with a completely gentle sound. But the greatness of this song is its richness of sounds and quality in each of its changes. It lasts 11 minutes that will end in a lightning; with a beautiful interlude where violins appear, but the song ends with that aggressive and exciting sound.

"The Ocean" is a shorter song that calms down the excitation caused by the previous song. It is a tranquil composition with a simple structure in the beginning, later new elements are added and the sound changes a little bit, it becomes actually more interesting. The part where the flute appears is excellent, it may sound quite simple actually but it is great.

"Bluebird" is a beautiful short ballad, besides that delicate guitar sound, there is an extraordinary violin that takes you to another place, a moment of reflection. The next song is also a short one, its title is "Fighting Gravity" and the sound is still gentle, this time the vocals return and if you have nice memory, this is a nice song to sing, though not really my favorite of this album.

"The Path to Alhambra" is much more interesting than the previous one. The beginning shows a delicate acoustic guitar, which seconds later is accompanied by a disarming violin sound; the sense of melancholy is present here. As you guess, this piece has a special flavor, because it will immediately take you to Spain, and then you will have a short trip to Alhambra. Unruh's guitar and violin performance here is outstanding.

"Dissolve" starts again with a melancholic mood that later will change when drums enter. The bass sound is splendid and the song as a whole is very strong. Seconds before reaching minute four, the song turns a bit aggressive creating a tense atmosphere that will be complemented with a nervous violin sound. In the end it is an interesting track.

The album finishes with "Reflecting Pond" a song whose first minutes seems to be excepting the end, I mean the mood suggest melancholy, as if it was the end of the road. Later it changes and creates a sensation of satisfaction. The tune is up seconds later where that predominant gentle sound returns. The song finishes as it began, goodbye.

An extraordinary album that can be enjoyed by any progressive rock lover, I really recommend to take a listen to Steve Unruh's music, he is a great composer and performer, believe me. Final grade, four stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Challenging Gravity by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.05 | 49 ratings

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Challenging Gravity
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by ProgressiveAttic
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Progressive Folk heaven!

Steve Unruh has managed to master the playing of a big array of instruments, and this album is a proof of what he can do almost acoustically and completely solo with a few instruments (specifically: acoustic guitars, violin, vocals, drums, electric bass and flute) but in quite a different manner of what you may expect. Here you won't find crazy soloing or wild displays of skill (with counted exceptions), instead you are being treated with a tasteful display of sophistication and compositional skill in a very intimate and sober album.

Unruh's main instruments are the guitar and the violin, and these are the principal instrumental elements of the music presented here + his exceptional voice and lyrical abilities provide the music with a unique aura.

Now track by track:

Twilight In India, as the title announces, opens the album dominated by indian-styled melodies. This track presents a very simple instrumentation, something that doesn't make it anything of a leser composition, consisting on an acoustic guitar and Steve's vocals on the spotlight joined by some percussions on the background. An amazing ballad! Brilliant on its simplicity. 4.25

Challenging shows a more aggressive and somewhat complex side of Unruh's music, here we get a sample of every single instrument used in the album (except for the flute). At about the middle, the mood turns mellower with an amazingly beautiful violin taking the lead, to later return to the initial aggressiveness and conclude magnificently. 4.75

The Ocean developes on the mellow nature of the previous' track middle section, this time with the inclussion of great flute work (sort of Jethro Tull-ish but not quite). 4

The melancholic Bluebird is a violin driven instrumental backed by the guitar and the rhythm section. 4.25

Fighting Gravity is another nice ballad led by the guitar in the same vein of the previous pieces (I don't know why, but the vocals here keep reminding me of Neal Morse's). 4

The Path of Alhambra explores a classical and flamenco spanish guitar approach (which, through the Classical Guitar EP, was the style that initially got me into Unruh's music), again instrumental, with beautiful flamenco styled violin interventions. This piece features one of the very few pure skill demostrations present on this album. Sublime! 4.75

Dissolve approaches the aggressiveness of Challenging but in a proggier/experimental fashion (due to the lack of a better term). The highlight in here is the violin/guitar interplay. 4.5

Reflecting Pond closes the album with another take on the classical guitar style, this time with vocals. The final product is an emotional and hypnotic piece led by highly skilled guitar playing and beautiful vocals. 4.75

Total: 4.41

Don't get fooled by the rating, Fighting Gravity is a masterpiece of folk music (progressive folk maybe) but the rock element isn't really dominant and sometimes is even absent. From a progressive rock perspective this one is just an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Believe me, it is much more than that.

The genius behind this creation lies in its simplicity. The format is simple, but the music manages to be complex in structure, challenging and, above all, very tasteful. If you enjoy of good skilled folk music with classical/flamenco and prog rock touches this is guaranteed to become your new obsession, it is impossible to get tired of it!.

If you need some references this is, without being really precise, somewhere in the middle between Bob Dylan and acoustic Jethro Tull with some classical Spanish edges.

One of the best albums to be released in the last few decades! (and of course in my top 2010 albums list) 100% recomended for progressive folk nuts like myself!

Recommendation: best when listened as a whole, not just as individual tracks.

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 Challenging Gravity by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.05 | 49 ratings

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Challenging Gravity
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars My ongoing Prog research lead me to this lair of beautiful sounds called "Challenging Gravity". To be honest, I was expecting decent modern Prog Folk album, but how was I wrong by assuming this, so very wrong.

If Eclectic means various, then this album surely is influenced by manThere are two oriental tracks, Twilight in India and The Path to Alhambra which depicts this theme quite well and brings fresh air to this 50 minutes composition.

Challenging is battle between all instruments featured here, battle for dominance, which one will be the prominent one, as if they were living beings and tried to please us, listeners. Then in the middle the song breaks and comes soft plunking and gentle violin (that's advantage of strings, they can sounds like that when they want - I mean when player wants).

Thanks Steve for this album, you have really made my day with this. Without bias, without blindly supporting him, I can easily say that it is one of the best albums of this year. Drums are basses are electric, but I didn't notice until I read it (in "Line-up / Musicians).

Now comes part with shorter songs, so far we had 7/11 minutes long ones and no songs with average length little bit over 4 minutes. First one (and also the longest one) is The Ocean is (you guess) calm song that couldn't be done better, quite well depicts this atmosphere with instruments given. Water body is probably the best musically depicted with acoustic guitar, which I'm starting to take as s fact. Later also flute joins.

Bluebird is on the contrary melancholic song and Fighting Gravity, title track, shows life story of some kind of underdog man rejected by society. I admit, I'm not that good on understanding lyrics at first few listenings, so it may be about Newton (logical choice, he is the one I usually connect with "Theory of Gravity"), but who knows.

It's like what Jeff Beck does with his guitar or Rick Wakeman with keyboards (even not that skilled, that I have to admit), Steve doesn't play exactly in virtuoso way, but he has a gift to create very suggestive moods from these instruments. One man band and sounds like completely normal Prog Folk group, that's important too.

Three years fans waited for new Steve Unruh album, but their waiting was greatly rewarded. Of course, he has his own band too (Resistor, which I hope will soon get recognized here as Prog group)

Disolve is probably the most psychedelic one of these songs (these elements glimpses in final stage of this song), otherwise it's quite Heavy song. Final track Reflecting Pond which closes this wonderful album, using this kind of optimistic sounding chords that second (or two seconds) later turns out to be sad ones, exactly - melancholic song again that uses layering and then suddenly dissolves before the end only come again with reprise of previously used structures of the same song.

4(+), this combination of various elements in such interesting way is simply irresistible.

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 The Great Divide by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.45 | 20 ratings

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The Great Divide
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by thedunno

5 stars teve has released quite a number of quality releases over the years; 8 solo albums and 3 albums with his band Resistor. Of all these records, "the Great Divide' is the one I like best.

Steve Unruh solo albums are solo albums in the thru sense of the word: written, played and produced by Steve Unruh alone. Luckily this doesn't result in flat overproduced records. All his albums sound fresh and energetic like they are being played by a band live in the studio. The great Divide is no exception.

So what about the music? Steve plays acoustic progressive folk music. Over the years you'll find a steady progress n his albums. They become more mature, varied and, in my opinion, simply better.

The great divide starts off with a song with the strange name 'Attack, Retreat, Then Attack Again Of The AcoustiChromatic Pixies'. The music is also unusual; It's a strange mix between the Dixie dregs and Univers Zero. The songs starts off with fast paced country loops on acoustic guitar, but somewhere half way the song changes into a more Rio/Avant song. Towards the end the two styles are combined together and they sound surprisingly well together. It's a great and very original start of the album.

Next is the 36 minute epic 'The great divide'', also the only vocal track on the album. Musically you could say it is a typical prog epic. It's composed of many different parts, with a recurring theme at the end. My favourite part is "something in heaven bleeds'. I can also imagine this piece working very well in a heavy Resistor version! The lyrical content is interesting; it deals with the relationship between man and god. Uh oh ... a prog epic with religious content: comparisons with Neal Morse are quickly made. But thankfully the lyrics here never become preachy in any way. In fact the lyrics offer as much to the atheist as to the believer.

Next piece is the quiet folky 'The River's Bend'. Maybe you could call this the least interesting piece on the album. I prefer to call it a welcome point of rest on the album. A beautiful melancholic tune. A perfect moment to refill the wine glass ( or whiskey glass in my case) and relax.

On the next song 'Seven Journeys East' the energy levels are switched up again. A great diverse instrumental folk tune where flute, violin and acoustic guitar constantly fight for the lead but none of them seem to win. A great interplay between the various instruments! Hard to believe that this is just one guy in the studio.

I think 'The great Divide' is one of these great undiscovered gems in progressive rock. An absolutely essential release for lover of progressive folk music.

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 Challenging Gravity by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.05 | 49 ratings

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Challenging Gravity
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by thedunno

4 stars Challenging gravity is the 8th solo album of multi-instrumentalist Steve Unruh. His solo albums are mainly in the acoustic folk-prog style and are all written, played and performed by himself.

There are two pitfalls for a such a solo artist 1 The records start to sound overproduced and lifeless because of spending too much time alone in the studio 2 The records sound samey because of the lack of outside influences

I can gladly say that Steve Unruh managed to avoid these pitfalls by a mile! The record sounds very energetic and fresh, like its been recorded live by a full band. At the same time the sound quality is amazing. Everything is recorded crystal clear with an amazing dynamic range.

The record is a development from his previous recording 'The great Divide". As much as I liked that one (his very best imho), I am still glad he didn't try to make the same record twice. On Challenging gravity Steve more then even presents himself as a progressive singer-songwriter. The songs are more compact (without getting less complex!) and the lyrics are more personal.

Other reviewers already already went into depth into the individual songs. All I can say is that Challenging gravity doesn't have one weak moment. The record simply ranks up with the best the man has recorded so far.

4,5 stars

Joost

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 Sampler 2009 by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
3.05 | 2 ratings

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Sampler 2009
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars This is the 3rd sampler from Steve Unruh after the 2005 and 2007 respective ones. In the same manner, the sampler picks out single tracks from Steve's various works and blends them together. To those unfamiliar, Steve Unruh is a one-man prog-folk band, playing all the instruments with an exceptional way. The addition of flute and violin along with the powerful, dynamic acoustic guitar playing is what makes his music different and worthwhile paying attention.

Most of the compositions are again instrumental; where vocals are present these are delivered in a good fashion. The opening track is pretty self-explanatory (!) as it is a mixture of musical 'attacks' and 'retreats'; or in other terms fast-paced guitar/violin acoustic passages interchanging with mellower parts and numerous breaks; a very dynamic track and one of the best compositions that I have heard from this man. The flute melodies flowing through the second half of the track are simply beautiful while after this short break the dynamic virtuosic acoustic-guitar playing returns and concludes the track. The artist himself describes it as "one of the hardest he has ever composed".

With the exception of Two Little Awakenings (title track from the respective album), the tracks in this compilation represent later works from the artist. Another element that was absent from previous compositions is the inclusion of a full-band track called Restless Angel, taken from Resistor's debut album. The track definitely bears Steve's compositional elements; however there are no acoustic guitars, flutes and violins dominating here, just pure heavy rock with smart melodies and powerful guitar riffs - the only "electric" song in this compilation. This mini epic (i.e. about 12 minutes long) is described by the composer himself as "one of his favourite recent pieces" and indeed it sounds as a solid, well-worked rock track. The violins that kick in towards the end of the track give off a fine touch.

Lotus Victorius, yet another instrumental track, comes from the album 'Song to the Sky' and is pretty representative of Unruh's overall sound: simple acoustic guitar melodies coloured with a passionate violin performance which resembles to the folk legends of the past (e.g. Ian Anderson). Contrary to the opening track, this one ranges between slow and modern-folk-style medium tempos but does not lack in inspiration - the acoustic solos and the bass tunes prove that. Life without Pain has been recorded for the film 'Air' and brings along a 70's sound. This is one of the few ballads I have personally experienced from his works which evolves to a very 'touchy', emotionally sung effort with simple but attractive melodies; strangely, one of the best ballads I have recently listened to which is summarised as "for what life is a life without pain".

The title track from 'Two Little Awakenings" is the epic (~18 minutes long) that sums up this compilation. The track starts off in the same manner that the previous ended e.g. very smoothly and gradually builds up from the 4th minute onwards. However, the track for at least half its duration is dominated by modern, 'sweet' American melodies that left me quite indifferent. The variety of instruments is absent during the first 10 minutes or so while the composition does not really evolve promptly. The relatively weak lyrics and the unjustified duration of the track make this the least interesting musical piece here.

Despite this latter unfortunate (in my opinion) inclusion, the overall compilation is more than pleasant and has some really inspired moments. I would not hesitate to recommend this to all friends of modern folk and fans of acoustic guitar. Along with the rest of his compilations, this sampler is available for free download from the artist's website.

This almost excellent addition to my collection definitely has a place in my playlist and is well worth 3 stars.

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 Sampler 2005 by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Sampler 2005
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by 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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 Sampler 2007 by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Sampler 2007
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars Decent effort from Steve Unruh that presents his 10 years in songwriting through this sampler. The sampler is available for free download from his website and includes 7 tracks, one from each of his personal works from 1997 until today. The music presented in this compilation is a blend of modern prog folk and acoustic songs, mainly influenced by Jethro Tull, Yes and American folk. Most tracks are based on acoustic guitars with the addition of violin, keyboards and flute that mix well with each other, all of them played by Steve Unruh. Since I am not an expert of Steve Unruh's music - unfamiliar with his other efforts (except for his 2005 sampler) - I will try to judge this album just in terms of music, and not as a compilation.

Strangely, I found myself enjoying all the odd numbered tracks (i.e. 1,3,5,7), while the even numbered ones (i.e. 2,4,6) did not pose much interest to me! Seven Journeys East is an excellent instrumental opening track, probably the best in this sampler, blending beautiful melodies with energetic violin and flute playing, revealing indeed eastern musical influences. On the same level, Song to the Sky (last part) is a more melodic track, with melancholic vocals adding much to its excellence. The two 'chairs' of the compilation (Flowered Chair and Lawn Chair) are decent and pleasant modern-acoustic-guitar songs that don't impress on the first listening but might grow on you after a while. Beautiful violin melodies are everywhere in Lotus' Land II, and yet another charming 'folkish' song is created, based on acoustic guitars. Leaf/Fly/Finale is a three-made-in-one song from 'Believe?', reminding a bit of Porcupine Tree in the slower parts. Even though there are many rhythm changes in the song, it finally sounds just pleasant, probably due to its 'simplicity'. Slowly as the Lights Go Down is an excellent selection for concluding this compilation, with its bluesy feeling obvious in the guitar playing, flowing throughout, and an interesting vocal performance from Steve Unruh that 'grasps' the tone perfectly.

I have the feeling that prog-rock fans will particularly enjoy the more 'complicated' tracks of this sampler, as I did. 'Seven Journeys East' and 'Song to the Sky (last part)' are by far the more interesting ones. Concluding, I have noticed that the songs I enjoyed more come from Steve Unruh's latest releases; this might mean something if the selected tracks are representative of the records. Overall, a pleasant compilation that surely has its moments...

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 Sampler 2005 by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Sampler 2005
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by 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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 Two Little Awakenings by UNRUH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.89 | 10 ratings

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Two Little Awakenings
Steve Unruh Prog Folk

Review by infandous

4 stars That one person can create such an incredible album by himself while not even being a full time musician is enough to make this album worth hearing.

First off though, let me point out that this 2 CD version is no longer in print and never will be again. Steve remastered this album and made it one CD version. The track list for this (and what I'll be reviewing) is as follows:

1. Scenes From The Mirror (17:08) 2. World, Awake (7:00) 3. Two Little Awakenings (17:51) 4. From The Flowered Chair (4:43) Resolution (34:46) 5. Part 1 6. Part 2 7. Part 3

I've never heard the original 2 CD version, but this seems far more manageable to me. And a great album it is as well. First off, I'm not sure what the remastering did exactly, but the sound quality is excellent. Every instrument comes through clearly and the mix is very even and balanced.

As for the music, it is folk prog with an emphasis on the PROG. Obviously, the 34 minute Resolution is the standout track for me. Excellent lyrics, transitions, flow, and lots of time changes and complex rhythmic and melodic development. The ending is such a typical bombastic prog type ending that I can't help but smile every time I hear it. Outstanding piece of music. The title track is my other favorite, being more of a complete song that just happens to be nearly 18 minutes long (as opposed to a suite type structure like Resolution). It flows beautifully with great lyrics and great melodies. The first track is similar, but not quite at the same level IMO, but still a very good song. The other two songs are much more in the realm of pop songs, but are very good in that regard. Catchy, with again great lyrics, and a somewhat simplified structure and melodies. Not my favorite kind of songs, but still good nonetheless.

The only real criticism I can muster is that the vocals, while good, are a bit weak for some of the material. Also, it doesn't sound quite as perfectly produced as some more recent prog albums, but considering it was recorded at a home studio back in 2001, this is easily forgiven. A solid 4 stars without a doubt. I'll definitely be picking up more of Steve's music in the near future.

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