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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Backstage: Douglas McLean Chats With Acclaimed Canadian Singer-Songwriter Justin Rutledge

By Douglas McLean.

I spoke at length with acclaimed songwriter, Justin Rutledge, who released his tenth album entitled ‘Something Easy’, May 19th, 2023, via Outside Music.

“Something Easy” is an album and set of songs of rare beauty, each song is a world unto itself and yet draws you into a compelling narrative of discovery and understanding.

You can listen to the entire interview and music HERE

The new album was no small feat for Rutledge. He decided to write, record and produce the whole album, with one, then later two, bouncing baby boys at his feet.

Indeed, it was the arrival of Rutledge’s first son that convinced him he should level up on this record. As any new parent knows, free time is at a premium when there’s an infant in the house, and the Toronto-born-and-bred singer/songwriter didn’t want to waste any of that time. He took guitar lessons for the first time in his life, even though he’s been making a living as a professional musician for 20 years now. He went back to school and got a degree in Arts Administration, taking an internship behind the scenes at iconic Canadian concert venue Massey Hall. And, of course, he learned how to make a record by himself while simultaneously learning how to be a parent.

“It started after Jack, our first born, came along,” says Rutledge. “I had no time to go into the studio, so I started learning how to engineer and record myself. I ended up producing the whole album at home, working for 45 minutes to an hour each night for 2 years and calling friends for advice about the recording process. It was probably the slowest album I’ve ever made, but at the same time, I was teaching myself the basics of engineering.” He continues, "All of these songs are about youth, and I hadn’t realized that. And it’s interesting because I feel that, as a new dad, there’s this transition that’s happening where suddenly I’m realizing I’m in my 40s. And what’s happening is that our wild-and-free years are suddenly over there, and our ‘middle-aged’ years are now right here. I feel like I’m at this apex where I’m thinking a lot about my youth, But I’m not lamenting anything. I’m not old, I’m just shocked at how suddenly this new phase of life has begun.”

He'll celebrate the album release with a string of Ontario dates.

Thursday, June 22, 2023 - Toronto, ON - TD Music Hall

Friday, June 23, 2023 - Ottawa, ON - Red Bird Live

Saturday, June 24, 2023 - Ottawa, ON - Red Bird Live

Sunday, June 25, 2023 - Picton, Prince Edward County - Acoustic Grill

Accolades have piled up at Rutledge's feet since he released his first album, No Never Alone, via Six Shooter Records in Canada and Slowdive/Mojave 3, main man Neil Halstead’s Shady Lane Records overseas back in 2004, to rave reviews in such international publications as Uncut and NME. He won a Juno Award for Roots Album of the Year in 2014 for the album Valleyheart – which also landed him a Canadian Folk Music Award – and has since been nominated for three more Junos. He’s been long listed twice for the critic-voted Polaris Music Prize and has penned songs with Booker Prize-winning author of ‘The English Patient,’ Michael Ondaatje. Rutledge has also had songs included in film and television, including the Zac Efron film The Lucky One or TV shows The Blacklist, Vampire Diaries, and Teen Wolf. The music gets around.


Angry Young Man



Head for the Hills

You can listen to the entire interview and music HERE



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