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Steve Unruh

Prog Folk

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Steve Unruh Precipice album cover
4.72 | 13 ratings | 1 reviews | 46% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Luxury Denial (10:38)
2. Uncharted Waters (4:18)
3. Send the Sunshine (5:41)
4. Reckoning (9:00)
5. Suspension (2:09)
6. Constellation (5:39)
7. Precipice (9:42)

Total Time 47:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Unruh (Resistor, Samurai of Prog, United Progressive Fraternity) / instruments, vocals

Releases information

Format: CD
July 31, 2019

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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STEVE UNRUH Precipice ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(46%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STEVE UNRUH Precipice reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
5 stars Steve Unruh is a prog folk artist that performs with the bands "Resistor", "Samaria of Prog" and "United Progressive Fraternity", but also has released several solo albums. His solo music is usually quite organic and on his solo albums, he usually performs all of the vocals and instruments. His 9th full length solo album is called "Precipice", was released in July of 2019, and is divided up into 9 total tracks ranging between 2 minutes almost up to 11 minutes each. The total run-time of this album is just a tad over 47 minutes.

"Luxury Denial" (10:38) starts off with acoustic guitar and Steve's frantic vocals, and soon the beat is establish by uptempo drums, synths, violin, bass joining in for a surprisingly upbeat first track, that also remains true to his organic feel. The later addition of flute, played with a Tull-like attitude adds even more energy to the mix. Suddenly, just before 3 minutes, everything stops, and the acoustic guitar comes back alone, and pensive vocals come back. The vocals are quite intriguing, nice to listen to, full of energy when needed like Ian Anderson, yet soft and deep like Cat Stevens at times. The lyrics are also quite captivating and the emotion matches the direction of the music and the lyrics. The song builds a bit, but a sudden bass pattern hints at more development, and the drums burst in with progressive patterns. This soon moves to a swirling instrumental section with an excellent bass sound and riff, fast acoustic strumming and upbeat drums again. Wordless vocals follow the melody played by the violin. The music is great, both true to the organics and infectious at the same time. The violin and flute interplay that comes later is excellent. Then the beat slows to a more moderate tempo and the violin gets to shine some more before the last section of vocals come in. The fast acoustic and bass guitars return and Steve's frantic vocals also come back this time driving the track forward to the end. Excellent!

"Uncharted Waters" (4:18) starts off with electric piano and soon Steve's dynamic vocals come in with a nice melody. The 2nd verse brings in the other instruments, moderate drums, synths, violin, nice heavy bass. The music is more straightforward, but the melody is excellent. The instrumental break features great bass and flute leading the way. When the vocals return, Steve reaches way up into his highest register, and wow, what a range! "Send the Sunshine" (5:41) begins with fast progressive strumming and drumming, then the violin starts to saw away with a fluttering flute and etc. This one is very Tull sounding, bright and with a lilting, danceable sound. Steve just lets the instruments do all the work this time building the song up, but after a few vocals, the music calms to just violin and acoustic guitar playing a nice duet together. Then the violin takes over as percussion taps along. Guitar comes in later, and the picking is quite amazing as the music builds back up again with progressive drama. This is an awesome (almost all) instrumental track that will definitely get your attention. Full of both energy and beauty. Perfect!

"Reckoning" (8:59) begins with a duet between a Spanish style guitar and bass. Tapping percussion and a fluttering violin play along after a while, the vocals come in later. Again the progressive folk sound is strong here, and once again, Steve's vocals and instrumentation is dramatic and progressive, with a strong Spanish influence throughout. Just before 5 minutes, the acoustic guitar is featured again and Steve's vocals come back in following the melody established by the guitar, and the flute plays along with some flourish. Drama returns to his vocals, and the vocal/guitar work is excellent. Before 7 minutes, bass and drums bring back the rest of the band as the music intensifies again and then breaks into a steady, fast beat again.

"Suspension" (2:08) starts with tonal percussion, possible a xylophone type instrument, and flute flourishes. The tonal percussion and flute start to come together with a tropical feel, nice and airy, staying simple through the track. "Constellation" (5:38) slows the pace with vocals and acoustic guitar. An electronic beat comes in on the 2nd verse, but things remain soft, with the addition of twanging sitar staying in the background. AT 2 minutes, real drums brings in a nice, moderate and smooth sound and violins play the main melody. Then the acoustic guitar and bass play together on their own for a minute, then rolling cymbals bring back the full band sound again, and the beat is reestablished. The feeling remains nice and laid back. Then everything slows as child-like spoken vocals come in and the guitar and violin carry the track to a close.

"Precipice" (9:42) begins with a cappella vocals. Then the guitar, drums and bass take over, and the music builds to a nice, heavy acoustic workout. Violin joins in and the music continues to build. Frantic vocals come in, matching the heavy strumming patterns. A secondary melody comes in as the track continues, and then the flute gets added in as the vocals intensify. The music alternates between the two distinct melodies. At 4 minutes, things calm back down again. The music builds back up as it goes, and the track finishes on a upbeat and energetic note.

This album is excellent, totally enjoyable and mostly accessible, but yet progressive. The organic sound is clean, but occasionally there are electronics brought in, but not enough to ruin the organic sound. I find the music often similar to Jethro Tull, and not just because of the flute, but the excellent progressive folk sound. One main difference, though, is that the melodies are less complex than Tull, and Steve's vocals are much more dynamic and variant than Ian Anderson's . There is a lot less electric guitar too, most of the guitar work done by heavy bass and acoustic guitar, which still becomes quite heavy at times with very dynamic playing. I find this album enjoyable from the get to, and even though all of the playing is done by one person, you would never be able to guess because it seems that Unruh is a master of all of them. I highly recommend this album to those that love the prog folk sound of Jethro Tull and others. The music is a bit cleaner and simpler, but the talent is amazing all around.

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