|Justin Rutledge — East (Sept. 23, 2016)|
Justin Rutledge — East (September 23, 2016) ••→•• In 2006, Justin Rutledge was named Toronto Singer–Songwriter of the year by NOW magazine.
••→•• Rutledge is also a member of the band Early Winters, a collaboration with Canadian musician/producer Dan Burns, American musician Zac Rae and British singer~songwriter Carina Round.
••→•• His influences, both of the literary and music world, include Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams, Richard Brautigan and E. E. Cummings.
••→•• “I’m not looking to make any money off this,” he told CBC Music at the time. “This idea was strictly respect. I wanted to pay homage to these wonderful people who gave us all these great songs.”Born: January 3, 1979
Origin: Junction, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Instruments: guitar, harmonica
Album release: September 23, 2016
Record Label: Outside Music
Genre: Alt–Country, Indie Folk, Singer–Songwriter
01. Unsettled 4:01
02. The Great Ascension 5:24
03. North Wind 4:47
04. Blue Jeans 4:25
05. Heaven Help Us 4:28
06. Almost Gone 3:36
07. No One Knows 4:12
08. The Old Oak 4:26
09. Hey Little Boy 1:56
10. Queen Street Lost 3:30
Producer: Daniel LedwellDescription:
••→ Toronto, ON — “Go West, Young Man, Go West”, an expression coined in the 1800’s, could easily be rephrased and applied to Juno Award Winner Justin Rutledge to read, “Go East, Young Man, Go East”, as that, quite literally, is what Justin Rutledge has done. His new album, aptly titled EAST, signifies not only his personal transition in moving away from the only city he’s ever lived, but also, recording in the east, his first time making an album outside of Toronto. In 2015, ready to make a change, Justin pulled–up roots in Toronto and replanted himself on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County. Leaving Toronto as a home was monumental for Justin, “Toronto is where I was born, but for some reason it became an increasingly foreign place to me. I knew I had to leave the city.” Inspired by the beauty and serenity of these new rural surroundings, his 7th studio album was born, as Justin headed further east to Nova Scotia, marking the first time he has recorded outside of Ontario. “I’ve recorded in LA with my band Early Winters, but I hadn’t yet recorded a solo album anywhere other than Toronto–I wasn’t sure why, so I headed for Halifax.” Justin had known producer and multi–instrumentalist Daniel Ledwell for some time and was already familiar with the home studio Daniel had set up in Lake Echo, Nova Scotia. Having guested on the song ‘Bring Me A Rose’ from Jenn Grant’s award winning album Compostela which was recorded in Lake Echo (Grant and Ledwell are husband and wife) and with Daniel’s encouragement to get out of his comfort zone, Justin trekked along the Trans–Canada to Nova Scotia. “I wanted to create an album in which a different geography served as the backdrop. I wanted to record on the east coast, use musicians from the east coast, even master the album on the east coast. Thinking of a title for the album was easy.” The songs on EAST see Justin embracing new styles, from the gospel tinged ‘The Great Ascension’, to the lo–fi lament of ‘Queen Street Lost’. Not lost, however, are the country–tinged pop songs like ‘The Old Oak’ and ‘Blue Jeans’. Of course, the hushed voice and the intricate storytelling remain, making EAST Justin’s most accomplished album to date. Rutledge’s other albums include No Never Alone (2004), The Devil On A Bench In Stanley Park (2006), Man Descending (2008), The Early Widows (2010) and Daredevil, his homage to The Tragically Hip (2014). He has twice been nominated for a Juno Award, and twice been long–listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize. Valleyheart, Rutledge’s first release on Outside Music, earned the Juno Award for Roots Album of the year in 2014. (Brock Thiessen, exclaim.ca)Review
By Kerry Doole, Published Sep 21, 2016; Score: 8
••→ The title of East refers to the fact that this is the first album recorded by rootsy Juno–winning troubadour Justin Rutledge outside his home province of Ontario. Seeking a change of environment, he set up shop with producer Daniel Ledwell (Jenn Grant) in the latter’s Nova Scotia studio for his seventh LP.
••→ The result is a record with a significantly different sound than Rutledge’s acclaimed earlier solo works. His primary musical accompaniment here comes in the form of widely used female background vocals and strings. They’re evident from the first track, “Unsettled,” and those voices give a subtle gospel feel to “The Great Ascension.”
••→ Rutledge’s immediately recognizable vocals remain delicate and mellow. Known for his subtle phrasing, vocally and lyrically, he is taking something of a risk with the strings, but it pays off. They add atmosphere and texture, and only on “I See Rain” do they come across as just a mite heavy–handed. His signature skill as a lyricist remains evident throughout, as on lines like “you give me a heart full of high beams” (“Blue Jeans”). He is especially eloquent on closing cut “Queen Street Lost,” a poignant look at the changes wrought on his former T.O. hood by gentrification.
••→ Those expecting the steel and twang sounds of earlier albums may initially be taken aback, but the strength of Rutledge’s reliably poetic writing and his warm voice should gradually win them over. ••→ http://exclaim.ca/
••→ 2004: No Never Alone
••→ 2006: The Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park
••→ 2008: Man Descending
••→ 2010: The Early Widows
••→ 2013: Valleyheart
••→ 2014: Daredevil
••→ 2016: East
|Justin Rutledge — East (Sept. 23, 2016)|