It’s the deep water that reflects so clearly, far from the murky shallows, far from the noise. Duane Rutter is that rare artist whose life provides ample source material, and whose evolution as a musician echoes his journey as a man. Born and raised on the on the North shore of Lake Erie, Duane Rutter evokes the rich musical traditions of that place, his life bearing the harvest afforded by the remarkable trip so far.
Published poet at 7, preacher,grave digger and hell raiser, picking tobacco and running with the bad asses, Rutter earned every bit of his back story, a provocative and creative human, blessed with such talent and cursed by what it took from him. Writing and performing from relentlessly, it wasn’t long before there was little choice left for him when his life’s calling knocked at his door.
Raising a son by himself, using his many skills to get by, Rutter was pushing himself to the breaking point, the booze, the women and song no longer a refuge from the black nights filled with regret and uncertainty. Long known as one of the premier roots musicians in all of South Western Ontario, getting noticed, getting gigs and getting breaks was never easy. Taking those emotions and notes, Duane Rutter began anew, the conviction and clarity of a survivor, gentle and inclusive, singing true life footnotes that we all remember.
The decade between 1996 and 2006 was spent away from the stage, away from the passions and dangers of that life. Recovered and resigned to his calling, Duane Rutter released “The Waiting Room” in 2006 to universally positive critical reviews. The lush mix of Americana on the record was both textured and taught, the early influences and woodshedding sessions of Linda Lee, Ronnie Hawkins alum Terry Danko and James Atkinson shining through like the burl on a prime piece of oak. The follow up, `Never Bet The Devil Your Head` affirmed his place as one to watch in the crowded indie-folk scene.
When listening to Rutter’s music, one is struck by the immediate feeling of inclusion, his guitar styles ranging effortlessly between the punctuated perfection of flat picking to the growl and sustain of so many seminal recordings over time. His voice is a warm, rich baritone, never straining to evoke the visceral truth carried in every missive. Stories of love and loss, remorse and redemption glide seamlessly from his hands and memory, the subtle graces of a polished wordsmith never too shiny, always delivered with absolute authenticity.
To date, 2014 has been a very good year in the life of Duane Rutter, his profile and his workload increasing exponentially, much of it having to do with his ``second home`` of Hamilton, Ontario. Long revered as a true-blue music hotbed, the underground nature and workmanlike humble pride of the city’s creative class. The seeker in Duane Rutter had found the right place, at the right time, the dreamer and poet in him nurtured by the oh-so-real folk who work the bars, coffee houses and studios. Half a dozen years after `The Waiting Room`, Duane Rutter has arrived. Constantly evolving, always enlightening and never stopping are the touchstones, beautiful music is the result – from Duane Rutter.