First singleAmen America” available now

It has been almost three years since Justin Rutledge has released an album—the longest stretch between albums for the 33 year-old songwriter who was born and raised in The Junction, an old railway neighbourhood in the west end of Toronto.The quiet songwriter returns to his roots with a stately collection of spacious songs featuring Rutledge’s trademark poetic lyrics. “I wanted to write songs the way I look at old photographs,” the singer says. “Valleyheart is, at the core, an album about translating memory.” The album is spare in its arrangements, and at times, achingly slow. “At this point in my career, I understand that my strength lies in writing songs that don’t exceed the speed limit,” jokes Rutledge. “I have never been more comfortable with my writing.”

Valleyheart was recorded in Toronto with Rutledge’s veteran backing band, featuring his best friend Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) on bass, and mixed in Los Angeles by Dan Burns (Puscifer, Chuck Prophet). Rutledge has increasingly been spending more time in California. “Travel is a major theme on Valleyheart,” says Rutledge. “It is perhaps my most ‘Canadian’ album to date, even though it is heavily influenced by California.” The first single “Amen America” (http://youtu.be/_8c_m_wgxhU) is Justin’s love letter to the US “I have acquired a deep fondness for America and the people I’ve met there although the country is beautiful, deeply troubled, and divided. “Amen America” is a song about a father and his daughter seeking refuge in memory as he searches for decent work and the hope for a new beginning as they travel the great country’s highways.” Rutledge also revisited some older, unfinished material on Valleyheart. “I began writing Kapuskasing Coffee and Heather In the Pines over a decade ago, but I never finished them. I thought it would be a good exercise to revisit some material I wrote when I was 21—I consider them to be a co-writes with my younger self and older self.”


During the time between the release of his last album up until now, Justin has become immersed in the world of theatre. His collaboration with Michael Ondaatje on the album The Early Widows lead to a role in the stage adaptation of the much loved novel “Divisadero” which had two separate and successful runs in Toronto. Most recently, Justin became involved with the Canadian Stage production of The Arsonists, being chosen by acclaimed director Morris Panych to be the musical director and performer of the famed production featuring such venerable Canadian actors as Michael Ball and Sheila McCarthy. “Working with such great actors and directors made me feel quite artistically focused,” Rutledge says. “Which is perhaps why Valleyheart is perhaps my most calm album.”


Rutledge’s other albums include No Never Alone (2004), The Devil On A Bench In Stanley Park (2006), Man Descending (2008), and The Early Widows (2010). He has twice been nominated for a Juno Award, and twice been long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize. Valleyheart is Rutledge’s first release on the Outside Music labeland will be released on February 12, 2013. The Arsonists runs at Canadian Stage until December 9.









Toronto ON – It all seemed to happen so quickly. In 2009 Jill Barber was playing the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival behind her award winning album Chances. At the insistence of a dear friend, she decided to perform for the first time ever, a French translation of one of her songs, “Tous Mes Rêves” (“All My Dreams”). Though Jill has always admired French culture, her basic high school-level language skills had previously inhibited her from properly expressing herself with her Québec audience. That all changed when she graced the stage that night in Montreal.

“I just closed my eyes, channeled Edith Piaf and began to sing. I was blown away by the response. Though my French was far from perfect, the audience clearly valued the effort. I was inspired to perform more and more in this beautiful language”.

Now, four years after that monumental show in Montreal, Jill Barber will release Chansons on Outside Music, an album of her own interpretations of classic French songs from both France and Québec.

 Jill meticulously curated the repertoire herself, selecting material from a long list of over thirty songs, drawn both from her own collection, and from recommendations from friends within the Francophone community that she was now becoming a part of.

“I spent time with the songs. I strolled the streets with Aznavour, I sat in a sidewalk cafe with Piaf, poured a stiff drink with Gainsbourg, and I became absolutely enamoured and inspired by French music in the process.”

Following discussions, and a few studio sessions with her producer and arranger Drew Jurecka, she whittled the list down to the twelve songs that make up the album. “There are so many incredible songs that I would have loved to record, however I feel that this collection touches on all the aspects of French music that I love, from the sultry and romantic ballads to the whimsical and playful waltzes.”

Having earned over twenty award nominations and with two top-selling albums in English, Jill is poised to continue her burgeoning love affair with her French audience and Francophiles alike.

“Singing in French has been like rediscovering my voice, my instrument. The French language, particularly when sung, is very beautiful to me. It is a great pleasure for me to sing, and I think that enjoyment comes through.”

The first single off Chansons is “Sous le ciel de Paris” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzDtB7_XjRM) a song inspired by the 1951 French film of the same name and made famous by Piaf. “For me, this song captures the spirit of French street music, the drama, the tenderness, the romanticism, the playfulness. It’s the kind of song that instantly transports me to the cobblestone streets of Paris… or at least the Paris of my imagination.”

Jill, having just returned from a 3 week tour of Australia, will be embarking on a tour of the Maritimes in support of her latest album Mischievous Moon. She will be showing her country side by performing the songs of Hank Williams on November 25th in Vancouver at the Electric Owl, and will be in Toronto on December 1st at Massey Hall in support of Sarah McLachlan.  In January, prior to the release of Chansons, Jill will be playing at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on January 18th and 19th.



 November 14 – Chester, NS  – Chester Playhouse

November 15 – Annapolis Royal, NS – King’s Theatre

November 16 – Windsor, NS – Mermaid Theatre

November 17 – Truro, NS – Marigold Theatre

November 18 – Summerside, PEI – Harbourfront Theatre

November 20 – Florenceville/Bristol, NB – Carelton North Theatre

November 22 – Halifax, NS – Spatz Theatre w/Matthew Barber

November 25th – Vancouver, BC – The Electric Owl 

December 1 – Toronto, ON Massey Hall w/ Sarah McLachlan

December 6 – Ottawa, ON – Library & Archives Auditorium

January 18/19 – Park City, Utah – Sundance Film Festival


Petite Fleur



La Javanaise

Sous Le Ciel De Paris

En Septembre Sous La Pluie

Je Cherche Un Homme

N’oublie Jamais

Quand Les Hommes Vivront D’amour

Les Feuilles Mortes

Plus Bleu Que Tes Yeux

Adieu Foulards

Matthew Barber in Australia

Matthew Barber’s tour of Australia begins today! Click on the TOURS tab or go to matthewbarber.com for all of the dates and where to buy tickets.

Matthew will be playing at the Sydney Blues & Roots Festival as well as bringing a Canadian tradition to Oz – The Songwriters Circle.

The Songwriters Circle Tour brings in four premier singer-songwriters to play solo, altogether on the one stage, taking in turns to perform their signature songs, chatting about all things artistic and the process of songwriting along the way with the audience. The concept originated from the east coast of Canada and IS now a feature event at the East Coast Music Awards (ECMA’s). The first for Australia will see Steve Balbi, Matthew Barber (Canada), Nicholas Roy and Asa Broomhall take the stage for an intimate evening sharing tales about their craft and the influences behind their work. Of course, their musical gifts will also be on display throughout the night.