The Lost Trail

album cover

The Lost Trail is a new instrumental folk album born from the imagination of twin brothers Mark and Bran. This album brings together both brothers’ musical talents and unique, down-to-earth styles to create something that’s both comfortable and daring.

This album is a story of adventure inspired by the natural beauty of their homeland of Kansas. From homespun upbeat melodies that sound like back porch jam sessions, to somber, reflective guitar ballads, this album will take you there and back again. Put on your hiking boots, grab a back pack, and get ready to get lost.

Watch the “making of The Lost Trail” video!

Track listing and info:

1. Gravel Under Foot
Mark- mandolin, guitar
Bran- djembe, bass

I wrote this song in the car right after I bought my first mandolin. I would end up playing this piece as we walked down the dirt back roads of Kansas, the gravel our percussion. The road to adventure starts in your own backyard.

-Mark

2. As the Rooster Crows
Mark- harmonica, banjo, snare drum
Bran- guitar, jaw harp, bass, cowbell

This song was born from an improv session in the sunroom, with Bran on guitar and me on harmonica. As we would hit the chorus, the family rooster would answer back with a crow. You never know what you’ll encounter!

-Mark

Jam session with a chicken? What could go wrong?

-Bran

3. Old Man River
Mark- guitar, banjo
Bran- guitar, bass, mandolin, bouzouki, buffalo drum

The guitar part of this piece will forever be remembered as the simple rhythm our dad would play on his guitar when we were young. We put this song together in honor of our father. His determination and dedication has inspired me. By many of his colleagues, he is known as Old Man River; I know him as Pops.

-Mark

4. The Lost Trail
Mark- banjo, mandolin
Bran- bouzouki, bass, percussion, Native American flute

Just as Gravel Under Foot was Mark’s first mandolin song, The Lost Trail was mine. Playing it, I always felt as if I was standing in a forest on the side of a mountain, embarking on some epic adventure.

-Bran

5. Argenstock
Mark- hammered dulcimer
Bran- guitar, mandolin, tin whistle, electronic bagpipe chanter, bass, percussion

This song is heavily inspired by a piece called Grimstock, a traditional English tune. It’s such a fun tune. The name, Argenstock, is a nod to our old band name; it sounds similar enough to Grimstock, in both name and in tune, that I thought Argenstock would be a fitting title.

-Bran

6. Green Window on Auerbach
Mark- guitar

While in Israel, I meditated upon a window illuminated by a greenish light. This average room in this normal building across the narrow alley revealed something to me about my adventure. The feeling of being in a distant, mystical desert land gave way to a familiar feeling: the comfort of home. Though I was thousands of miles away from home, I was staring into someone’s place of comfort and safety.

-Mark

7. A Memory of Air
Bran- guitar

This song was inspired by a moment spent in silence, just the sunlight, the air, and me. How beautiful a simple moment can be.

-Bran

8. Same Day Shipping
Mark- guitar, snare drum
Bran- bass, keyboard

This fun song started with a silly song title Bran came up with for a school project. I originally wrote lyrics and a tune for this song years ago. We revived this old treasure to bring a bit of light-hearted fun along this journey.

-Mark

This song is quite possibly one of the first songs we played together. I’m thrilled to share it with the world! 

-Bran

9. Stranded
Bran- djembe, percussion, thumb piano, didgeridoo, Native American flute

This brief, energetic song was recorded for a short film we had made, so when we brainstormed ideas as to what should go on this album, I suggested it (as a joke). Mark loved the idea. I think this song embodies the intensity of journey: the wild, dangerous unknown. 

-Bran

10 A Snake Sees the Ghost
Mark- bells
Bran- mandolin, bouzouki, bass, thumb piano, djembe, percussion, Native American flute, didgeridoo, bagpipe chanter, Tibetan singing bowl

I have always admired the structure of this piece from Bran. The simple repetitions layered one on top of another reveals the unreal reality of bizarre, unexpected encounters. 

-Mark

This song started as an experimental electronic piece years ago–one of my first songs ever recorded. I acoustified it with an eclectic mix of world instruments to give its unique life. The world is a weird, weird place. You’ll see stuff that will bewilder, awe, and puzzle you.

-Bran

11. Ad Astra
Mark- mandolin, vocals, harmonica, lyrics
Bran- guitar, slide guitar, bass, vocals, lyrics

Kansas is a beautiful place. In the style of the state’s official song, we wrote what Kansas means to us. To me, it’s the comfort of home.

-Mark

I feel so at home in the expansive, majestic skies of Kansas and long stretches of land spanning to the wide horizon. It may be flatter than a pancake, but its beauty is vastly underrated. Kansas complements a clear head and an open heart.

-Bran

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Calling All Artists!

Calling All Artists

 

Album art can be a photo, graphic art, painting, drawing, any original art that is not copyrighted.

I can send some demos of some of the songs that will appear on the album to you. I trust you will not distribute these songs, even if I have them posted elsewhere. All of these songs will be original songs that I have written, so I want an original flair to the artwork as well.

Words or titles are not necessary, but can be used if you think it’ll be appropriate for the art. I plan on adding the title and words myself, unless your submission is awesome. If you have an album name you want to pass to me, feel free!

You can send me a message or email me with your work. If it is a physical piece of art, I would prefer a really good photograph or photocopy made if I cannot obtain the original.

If your artwork is chosen, you will be credited in the album. You will also win free copies of all my CD’s: A Great Sudden Storm of Thunder, Crimsoned, The Apostle of the Gentiles Soundtrack, Parachute Hearts (EP), and THIS NEW ONE! (Also, a new-release of me and my brother’s instrumental album that may come out shortly after this one, if not before).

If your artwork is not chosen for the album cover, fret not! Your art still may be used for the inside of the case, face of the disc, or something else involving this album!

I will be posting all entries to social media unless you specifically tell me you do not want yours posted.

By submitting an entry through private message or email, you agree to me to be able to use the artwork in conjunction with this album how I see fit within reason.

Rules, terms, and contest can and may be changed without notice at any time. I reserve the right to turn down any entries if I deem it inappropriate or distasteful.

Bonus point for using the likeness of a moth. Just saying.

Submissions can be made to the following:

Private message through the Mark Van Unen Music Facebook page

Email iamsavedbychrist@hotmail.com

Happy creating!

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New Album! The Lost Trail

I am super, super excited to update y’all with the newest project! My identical twin brother Bryan (aka Bran) and I are collaborating on an instrumental folk album, The Lost Trail. The best way I can describe this is a telling of our brotherhood and our love for adventure. This album will be reminiscent of our old songs we used to play together and reveal some new pieces formed from our continuing adventures in life. I see this as a truly epic piece of family history. We will get to see some pretty cool special guests on the album as well! Stay tuned for more updates!

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Updates!!

Well, it’s been a VERY long time since I have posted, so I figured I’d update y’all.

In August of 2016 I went to Isreal for a missions trip. REALLY cool experience and I had an amazing time. We were able to tract several cities, film some scenes for the movie The Apostle of the Gentiles (check out the movie at schoolofthebible.us), we were able to edify several Christians, help out some churches in the area, and just tour and see all the sites of Biblical, historical, and even futuristic importance.

Shortly after I got back, I started classes to pursue a degree to further my career (my tent making job, if you will). At the same time, I got a promotion at work. With that in our lives, it has made it very busy!

In January 2017 I flew down to Houston to help film another movie, The Upper Room, which will be available at the link I gave for the first movie.

I recently released a soundtrack for The Apostle of the Gentiles, you can find it here! I have a music project in the works that will be a “non-sacred” instrumental album with my brother. We are bonding as brothers and having fun recording some cool tunes, some we grew up together with, and some that are brand new. It’ll be a ton of fun!

My next project I’m planning will be a completely original album. Every song on that will be written by me over the years. I simply cannot wait to record this!!

In a week I will be playing my annual gig at Grace Baptist Church in Coleman, MI for their Annual Friend day. I am very honored to also be teaching the Sunday School service there. I am really looking forward to ministering to these dear brothers and sisters.

I try to live by the verse in Philippians 1:21 when Paul says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Nothing else matters in life but to live for Christ. Pray for me to continue seek that life.

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On a Mission

Hello all! I’m just writing really quick to give some updates. In my growth and continuation in the ministry, I can finally say it’s about time to take a missions trip. My friend, mentor, and “online professor” will be taking me to either Israel or Greece (it’s too early to decide as of yet) to minister to the people there.

How can you help? Well, any and all profits from CD sales, donations, or anything dealing with my ministry (see my Ministry and Services Page for more info!) will go towards the cost of the trip. And the cool thing is, my CD’s are now available online at my BandCamp Page! You can buy them digitally, whole albums or individual tracks, and/or order a physical CD to be shipping right to you! Stay tuned for updates on the trip and my music in general!

Missions Flyer

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Crimsoned

Well, the album is nearing to the end…ish. This Hymn Writers Project: Volume Two has proved to be a challenge. With almost zero hymns of George Bennard out there on the internet (save The Old Rugged Cross and Speak, My Lord), I had to basically start from scratch. I took the sheet music from a book, “Bennard’s Melodies,” plugged it into a program to listen to it and played by ear! It’s turning out better than I had hoped for so far. I credit my Lord for that. He has blessed me so richly through my music! I never would have thought I’d be where I’m at. Were it not for grace, I don’t know where I’d be!

I have titled the new album “Crimsoned.” Taken from a verse in the song “The Crimson Cross” (props to Caleb and Levi for the awesome work on that song).

That crimson cross majestic stands
Pointing the way to fairer lands
Illumined from the throne of God
And crimsoned by His precious blood.

If it weren’t for that holy blood that crimsoned the cross, there would be no redemption for man! I was asking myself what the theme of this album was. It’s definitely the cross. That Old Rugged Cross. That Crimson Cross. That Cross of Love.

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Hymn Writers Project

Holding George Bennard’s last guitar

The second volume is currently in the works! This album will be hymns by George Bennard. Bennard’s fame is in his hymn The Old Rugged Cross but he has so many other hidden gems I found in some old, stained books. My goal for this album is to have his other hymns rediscovered. I think they are as beautifully, if not more beautifully, written as The Old Rugged Cross.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the first volume, A Great Sudden Storm of Thunder, check out the Hymn Writers Page. You can purchase it by contacting me or purchase it through PayPal HERE.

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