I first met Canadian singer-songwriter Rick Unruh at the annual Cornerstone Music Festival, or maybe the Folk Alliance Convention in Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1999, but frankly, I have forgotten the exact place. Rick is quiet-spoken and unassuming, as are many Canadians it seems. In fact, my Silent Planet Records partner, Tony Shore, used to joke that Rick was so nice that we could tell him we’d put his record out, do nothing for him, and pay him nothing, and he’d say “no problem.” (Well, come to think of it, that’s not far from reality for most record companies!) Even Rick’s songs have a subtle way of sneaking up on you, powerfully understated in their approach.
In this episode of Wide Angle Radio, that well-intended but financially underwhelming project of so many years ago, John Fischer interviews Rick in an episode entitled “The Vulnerability of the Artist.” (Funny, no one ever talks about the vulnerability of the record label or artist manager. Can you imagine why?) The acoustic music featured on Wide Angle Radio tends to manifest just that --- vulnerability --- in being stripped down (sometimes, painfully so to my ears today), honest, and often personal. Listen to any song by Julie Miller, who is also featured on this episode, and you’ll sense the vulnerability immediately. Sometimes it’s almost too much. And yet with Rick’s music joy and hope tend to percolate up to the surface time and again. And he’s just as intelligent and articulate and (yes) nice in his interview. So, please check out this episode of Wide Angle Radio here.