With a brand new track just released and his 8th studio album, Passages, coming out this spring, singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge is bringing his new songs to fans around Ontario. The Juno winner is heading out on a mini tour, stopping at Warehouse in St. Catharines on March 14th with a special guest sharing the stage.
We asked Justin a few questions about artist comparisons, his influences, and how he keeps life interesting on the road.
From the Strait: It’s just human nature to compare the work of one artist to another’s – what’s the strangest/funniest artist you’ve found yourself being compared to?
Justin Rutledge: I was in Holland years ago playing at a festival in Hilversum. A man approached me after my set and said, “You remind me of the Eagles. I do not particularly like the Eagles.”
FTS: What has influenced your music most?
JR: I don’t think I would be writing songs if it weren’t for Leonard Cohen. A friend of mine gave me a Cohen cassette in high school and it really opened my eyes to the limitless nature of songwriting.
FTS: You’re touring with a special guest (we’re not sure if we’re allowed to mention who), but who would be in your all-star Canadian band?
JR: To be honest, I’ve been lucky to play with some extremely solid musicians over the years. But if I had to pick a dream band, it would be Jim Keltner on drums, Edgar Mayer on bass, Johnny Greenwood on guitar, and Booker T. Jones on organ. I think that would make for a pretty unique sound.
FTS: What (or where) was the best crowd you’ve ever performed for?
JR: I played for the bartender at a suburban bar near Philadelphia once. That was fun.
FTS: Being on the road can get monotonous sometimes – what do you do to keep it interesting? And how do you unwind after a show?
JR: I tend to bring a lot of books with me on the road because there’s always a lot of waiting around and plenty of time to kill. I used to just drink to keep it interesting, and to unwind, but that has since lost its lustre. Books beat booze any day.