The last time we heard from Justin Rutledge, the soulful singer-songwriter had released Daredevil, an album composed entirely of Tragically Hip covers.
“I’m not looking to make any money off this,” he told CBC Music at the time. “This idea was strictly respect. I wanted to pay homage to these wonderful people who gave us all these great songs.”
After releasing that album, Rutledge sold his house in Toronto and moved east to restore a Victorian home on the shores of Lake Ontario. It was exactly the kind of mental reset he needed to explore a new sound in new surroundings. The result is East, which will be released this fall by Outside Music and was produced by Daniel Ledwell at his home studio in Halifax.
“Toronto is where I was born, but for some reason it became an increasingly foreign place to me,” he says in a press release. “I knew I had to leave the city. … I hadn’t yet recorded a solo album anywhere other than Toronto — I wasn’t sure why, so I headed for Halifax.”
The gospel-tinged song “The Great Ascension” is the first taste from East. Listen to it below.
“I wanted to create an album in which a different geography served as the backdrop,” he says. “I wanted to record on the East Coast, use musicians from the East Coast, even master the album on the East Coast. Thinking of a title for the album was easy.”