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First Play: Justin Rutledge, East

Judith Lynch

Ever since the release of his gorgeous debut album, No Never Alone, in 2006, Justin Rutledge hasn't had much of a break. He released his Juno Award-winning sophmore album, The Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park, in 2006, and The Early Widow in 2010. He's toured the world, hit the stage as an actor in an adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's Divisadero, composed for and starred in Morris Panych's The Arsonists in 2012, began developing a film with Governor General Award-winning playwright Hannah Moscovitch and released another Juno Award-winning album, Valleyheart, in 2013 and then followed that up in 2014 with Daredevil, a tribute to the Tragically Hip. And then, Rutledge went away for a while.

After eight years of solid, creative output, he needed a break. He sold his Toronto home and moved to a place on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. When it came time to think about recording music again, Rutledge moved his operations even farther east — to Daniel Ledwell's home studio in Lake Echo, N.S. — marking the first time Rutledge has recorded an album outside of Toronto.

"I wanted to record on the East Coast, use musicians from the East Coast, even master the album on the East Coast," said Rutledge in a press release. "Thinking of a title for the album was easy."

CBC Music is streaming Rutledge's latest album, East, in advance of its release. Listen to the album by clicking on the SoundCloud player below.