Born in the working-class Junction neighbourhood of Toronto, this Irish-Catholic singer-songwriter dreamt of being a writer as a young boy. He entered University of Toronto to fulfill that dream by studying English Literature and Modern Poetry, but dropped out when he began to gain success as a musician.
Justin released his debut album No Never Alone in 2005, which he funded by working as a Toronto bartender. He earned extensive praise for this album, especially in the UK where the ‘zine Comes With A Smile compared him to UK indie sensation Ryan Adams. His hometown took notice, when NOW Magazine named Justin singer/songwriter of the year in 2006.
After such critical acclaim, Justin wanted to assert himself musically and say, “Hey I’m here and I’ve challenged myself and I’ve hopefully done something that I haven’t done already” and that’s exactly what he did with his sophomore album The Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park. It went on to be nominated for a JUNO for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Solo and received the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Edmonton Folk Festival.
Justin’s second studio effort saw him work alongside some of the finest musicians in Toronto, including Bazil Donovan, David Baxter, and Burke Carroll. It also features guest appearances from Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor, Tim Vesely (Rheostatics), Oh Susanna, and Melissa McClelland. Since then, Justin has released two more albums to critical and popular acclaim.
Sources: AllMusic.com, Wikipedia
- Has toured and shared many stages with Blue Rodeo.
- Opened for the Jim Cuddy Band on their 2006 tour for the The Light That Guides You Home.
- Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor, and Bazil Donovan have appeared on his albums.
- Bazil Donovan plays bass and Bob Packwood piano/organ in Justin’s band.
"We basically wanted to make a standard country record. As a template we had a lot of old traditional arrangements — anything you’d hear on a George Jones record or a Gram Parsons record. That’s the charm with country music — it doesn’t rely upon any gimmick — it’s all about heart. It’s all there in the old arrangements." – Justin Rutledge on the making of No Never Alone