Justin Rutledge

The upgrade to 2.5 was successful, and the new version is very smooth. The dang thing used to not let me make new categories, but finally they fixed that. Now if only I could preview before I posted, but you can’t have everything, right?

So, a new category in honor of artists like Justin Rutledge, who aren’t new (this is his third album with Sixshooter) but who certainly aren’t indie darlings because of the specificity of their sound. Though many will find Justin soft and overly country, he’s got a beautiful turn of phrase and a bit of a dark side (just enough). He’s Norte-Americana, mandolin and guitar and a man with a broken heart trying to find his way out of a dark room. Sometimes he makes it and sometimes he doesn’t, even in the same song: in “This Too Shall Pass,” he sings both when your eyes are sick with wonder and your heart is in a cast / this too shall pass, and, we figured out how to make a good thing last / but this too shall pass.

It’s that kind of wry ambiguity that really ratchets up the quality of Rutledge’s country sound, which is fairly standard. He never quite reaches the Votolatian heights of the tortured metaphor or tries to out-stamp the country stompers; he just speaks directly from himself to the listener, and therefore, we listen. “Man Descending” will be released on April 8th.

Justin Rutledge — Site | Myspace | Label (Six Shooter)

[ed note — tracks removed]

Justin Rutledge — This Too Shall Pass

Justin Rutledge — Greenwich Time

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