Justin Rutledge
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Justin Rutledge


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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No Never Alone (2004)
The Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park (2006)
Man Descending (2008)
Early Widows (2010)
No Never Alone Deluxe Re-issue (2012)
Valleyheart (2013)



Outside Music is proud to announce the release of Justin Rutledge’s 5th studio album, Valleyheart, in February 2013. The quiet songwriter returns to his roots with a stately collection of spacious songs featuring Rutledge’s trademark poetic lyrics. “I wanted to write songs the way I look at old photographs,” the singer says. “Valleyheart is, at the core, an album about translating memory.” The album is spare in its arrangements, and at times, achingly slow. “At this point in my career, I understand that my strength lies in writing songs that don’t exceed the speed limit,” jokes Rutledge. “I have never been more comfortable with my writing.”
It has been almost three years since Justin Rutledge has released an album—the longest stretch in between albums for the 33 year-old songwriter who was born and raised in The Junction, an old railway neighbourhood in the west end of Toronto. During this time, he recorded an album with his band in Los Angeles, Early Winters, and also became involved in the world of theatre. Rutledge has worked with such pivotal directors as Daniel Brooks and Morris Panych, and collaborated with Michael Ondaatje on adapting his novel Divisadero for the stage. Rutledge was also the composer and music director for Canadian Stage’s production of The Arsonists, featuring such venerable Canadian actors as Michael Ball and Sheila McCarthy. “Working with such great actors and directors made me feel quite artistically focused,” Rutledge says. “Which is perhaps why Valleyheart is perhaps my most calm album.”
In late 2012, Outside Music also released a deluxe edition of the songwriter’s first album, No Never Alone, which prompted some changes in Rutledge. “I went back to listen to No Never Alone and, in a sense, rediscovered what made me want to write songs,” says the singer. “In many ways, Valleyheart is a response to my first album, ten years later.”
Valleyheart was recorded in Toronto with Rutledge’s veteran backing band, featuring his best friend Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) on bass, and mixed in Los Angeles by Dan Burns (Puscifer, Chuck Prophet). Rutledge has increasingly been spending more time in California, writing and recording with his band, Early Winters. “Travel is a major theme on Valleyheart,” says Rutledge. “It is perhaps my most ‘Canadian’ album to date, even though it is heavily influenced by California.”
Rutledge also revisited some older, unfinished material on Valleyheart. “I began writing Kapuskasing Coffee and Heather In the Pines over a decade ago, but I never finished them. I thought it would be a good exercise to revisit some material I wrote when I was 21—I consider them to be a co-writes with my younger self and older self.”
Rutledge’s other albums include No Never Alone (2004), The Devil On A Bench In Stanley Park (2006), Man Descending (2008), and The Early Widows (2010). He has twice been nominated for a Juno Award, and twice been long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize. Valleyheart is Rutledge’s first release on Outside Music.