Up Close and Personal With Justin Rutledge and the Beauties

Justin Rutledge rocked out June 1 at Starlight to promote his brand new album The Early Widows.

Before Rutledge took to the stage, Toronto band the Beauties got things started with their unique brand of indie rock, getting the crowd loosened up and moving in their seats. The Beauties rolled through nine songs off their debut album including “Fashion Blues”, “Wasting Time” and “Baby Outta Jail”. Delivering a slick and polished performance, the band played their diverse blend of country, folk and roots music to an eager, but seated crowd.

Speaking with The Cord after the set, lead singer Darin McConnell said, “We’re definitely not used to sit-down crowds. We’ve always played to a much rowdier, standing crowd. But we still liked it and the crowd was great, we really like it here.”

Rutledge then took to the stage with his laid back folk musical stylings.

Rutledge and his band played songs off his latest album The Early Widows, which relies more heavily on electric guitar than his previous efforts – something he is less accustomed to.

He ripped through tunes such as “Jack of Diamonds”, “Ms. Montgomery” and “Heart of a River”.

Rutledge’s performance was spot on, showcasing his talents in both singing and producing profound lyrics that aid his soft and slow country rock sound. The classic country vibe was heightened by his use of harmonica and a slide guitarist, giving the music an unmistakable twang and spirit-lifting airiness.

The highlight of the evening was Rutledge’s two-song encore performance. For his last song “Don’t Be So Mean Jellybean” he abandoned the microphone and amplifiers and came down to the floor, engaging the audience in a sing along – a great ending to an amazing show.

Justin Rutledge can be seen performing at Lee’s Palace in Toronto on June 17, and the Beauties will be playing a June 19 show on Toronto Island.