Justin Rutledge with guests Charlotte Cornfield
- October 17, 2019 - Showtime: 9:00pm
Tickets available online HERE
In the Spring of 2019, Justin Rutledge returns with his eighth studio album, Passages.
With a new band by his side, the Juno Award-winner’s subtly well-wrought songs are enveloped in ambient and lilting textures that provide fresh landscapes for Rutledge’s material. One of the key new band members is Rob Baker from the Tragically Hip. Rutledge and Baker forged a friendship through the creation of Rutledge’s 2014 album, Daredevil, a recording that paid tribute to the legendary Canadian band. “It was a real honour to have Rob in the studio with us, both musically and socially,” says Rutledge. “As a musician, he’s quite fearless and very intuitive when it comes to serving the song.” Co-produced by Chris Stringer and recorded in ten days at Union Sound in Toronto, the majority of Passages is recorded live off the floor, with minimal overdubs. “We had my friend Zac Rae [of Death Cab For Cutie] record some guitar and textures at his studio in Los Angeles,” says Rutledge, “but I really wanted to keep as much as we could from the original Toronto takes.” With Passages, Rutledge manages to retain his Americana roots while venturing into exploratory sonic fields. “Country and roots music will always be my first love,” says Rutledge, “but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient instrumental music like Four Tet and Nils Frahm and I wanted to invite that influence into the way the songs on Passages are encircled.”
Thematically, Passages centers on Rutledge’s recent marriage and sojourn in Prince Edward County, an agricultural community on the shores of Lake Ontario. Songs such as Allisonville and Belleville Breakup illustrate small town relationships and hardships. The title track, Passages, is perhaps Rutledge’s most honest love song to date. “Like every other songwriter, I sure have written my share of love songs, but Passages is perhaps the most consistent and clear of them all,” Rutledge says, “I have never been happier.” Some pieces broach darker subjects. Good Man tells the story of one of Rutledge’s relatives, trying his best to outrun his inner demons. One Winter’s Day narrates the painful turmoil of struggling with mental health. Rutledge also revived some older songs for the album: three songs by his LA-based band Early Winters were recorded for the album, as well as Boats, penned by Rutledge and literary giant Michael Ondaatje.
Recently married and with a child on the way, Rutledge christened the album Passages to express his consciousness of shedding one life for another. “Fortunate things are surrounding me, and they are larger than myself,” says Rutledge. “The chapters of my life are becoming more interesting, and I can hear the pages turning when I close my eyes.”
“You free yourself when you take away the script,” says Toronto songwriter Charlotte Cornfield. “That’s where this record came from, dismantling patterns and embracing the process.” Cornfield’s third full length, The Shape of Your Name, is set to arrive inSpring 2019 via Outside Music imprint Next Door Records. The album has a more honed studio sound than her scrappier 2016 release Future Snowbird, and for good reason: it was recorded in 5 different sessions over the course of 3 years. The songs are her strongest and most striking to date -contemplative and contemporary, funny and heart-wrenching -and they’ve got that stuck-in-your-head-for-days quality that Cornfield is known for. The Shape of Your Name features a star-studded cast of collaborators including (but not limited to) Grammy-winning engineer Shawn Everett, Broken Social Scene members Brendan Canning, Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin, and Montreal songwriter Leif Vollebekk.
“My initial intention wasn’t to make a record at all,” Cornfield muses.“The whole thing kind of happened by accident. I went to The Banff Centre to do a residency and came out with these recordings that I knew I wanted to use for something but wasn’t sure what.” She brought the unfinished songs to her former roommate Nigel Ward in Montreal. “He fell into the producer role seamlessly,” says Cornfield. “We took it slow and just tried things for a while until the vision settled in. There was no rush. It was freeing, and it gave the songs a lot of breathing room to develop.
”For the past four years Cornfield has been booking and managing Burdock Music Hall, a small venue in the west end of Toronto. The job has offered her stability and a strong sense of place in Toronto’s bursting-at-the-gills music community. She’s also an in-demand drummer and side musician, and has worked closely with Tim Darcy of Ought, Molly Burch, Adrian Underhill, and members of Lake Street Dive. She has toured extensively in North America and Europe and has supported a huge range of artists including Broken Social Scene, Anais Mitchell, Daniel Romano and Sam Amidon.