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.
Check out Justin’s new song, “Good Man”, and see him live on March 14th at Warehouse Concert Hall