justin rutledge

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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


Catchup time

Time to find out what some bands from last year are doing now!

Before I start, some of you may have watched “Friday Night Lights” last Friday … you did, right? Right? When Street throws himself off the boat into the water, the song you’re listening to is “To Build A Home,” by the Cinematic Orchestra. You can listen to the song (and others) at their Myspace, and it is SO worth it.

Klee — Klee has a new album out, called “Zwischen Himmel und Erde” (trans: Between Sky and Earth, or Heaven & Earth if you’re feeling religious). Sadly it appears to be only out in Deutschland. While you wait for Minty Fresh to get their act together, you can preview tracks (in German) at the site.

Band of Annuals — the awesome hometown crew released their album in May. It’s called, “Let Me Live.”

Justin Rutledge — from my cursory look, I don’t know if the Junction Forty are still around, but Justin released an album earlier this year as well, entitled “The Devil On A Bench In Stanley Park.” Buy the album at Amazon or preview some tracks at his site. I’m really loving “This Is War.”

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Justin Rutledge

I wasn’t going to write about Justin, because he’s almost too country even for me, and this blog isn’t here to introduce you to more countryesque artists. But I just can’t help it. Some people are into shoegaze, and some people are into electronica, and then there’s me, and I’m such a sucker for boys singing sad songs with their lonely guitars. I like what I like, and I like it a lot.

So here goes — once again, Canada proves that it can drink, sing, and cry just as well as any of our sniveling country singers with their tears in their beers. Rutledge, with all the wisdom of his 26 years, put together a note-perfect lineup of songs in his 2004 album, “No Never Alone.” There’s talk (has been for quite awhile) of a new album, but I don’t see anything stirring except tour dates and an amusing sing-along rendition of a song called, “Don’t Be So Mean, Jellybean,” which you can stream on his Myspace.

(Of course, every time he says, “My beauty queen,” I go off and sing, “I’m gasoline, I’m burning clean” (so it can drive you nuts too, that’s REM’s “Electrolite.”) Hey! Someone mash those two up. Hee hee.)

At any rate! Now I’m completely off track. The songs from “No Never Alone” are well worth a listen, and I also highly recommend “Alberta Breeze,” which you can stream on the Myspace. It showcases Rutledge’s lovely turns of phrase: Alberta’s never sounded so appealingly depressing. Makes me want to visit, to see if I can bring a sad singing cowboy home with me.

…yeah, I know. Everyone say it along with me:

Justin Rutledge: Site (note the lovely photo of him by Tanja-Tizania Burdi) | Myspace | Label (Six Shooter)

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

Justin Rutledge – Too Sober To Sleep
Justin Rutledge – Special
Bonus: Singalong version of Don’t Be So Mean, Jellybean