Justin Rutledge: The Early Widows (Six Shooter, 2010)
Canadian Justin Rutledge is one of my favourite country and folk troubadours and I’ve been following him since falling in love with his debut album some years ago. The Early Widows is his fourth album and it’s again utterly wonderful. I’m certainly still in love with that gentle, sensitive voice that makes me feel so good and comfortable. Mr. Rutledge is also more than able to write stories. He draws little wings to the carefully chosen words, wraps them into a beautiful melody and let them fly to the core of your heart. It’s all so subtle, pure, captivating, poetic and yet so easy to listen, love and enjoy. In a way fragile and broken, but a curling arena full of heavy metal friendly musicians couldn’t create anything as strong and powerful. The first half of the album is worth of all the hearts in the world, the latter half is slightly weaker but still really good. The only thing that I don’t personally like is the addition of the gospel choir to several songs. It’s not that they don’t sing beautifully and well. They really do. It’s just a personal preference that I usually prefer that things stay quiet and small and the gospel choir make the songs grow too big for my own taste. Nevertheless, The Early Widows is again a wonderful album and Justin Rutledge easily keeps his place in the coffee table for the greatest modern country & folk singer-songwriters.