By Alex HudsonA few months back, Justin Rutledge signed to Outside Music for a reissue of 2004's No Never Alone, and he promised at the time that a new album would follow in early 2013. Sure enough, the Toronto alt-country tunesmith has announced Valleyheart, due out February 12.
The album is reportedly slow and sparse, with predominantly mellow tunes. It features Rutledge's usual backing band and was mixed by Dan Burns.
"I wanted to write songs the way I look at old photographs," Rutledge said in a statement. "Valleyheart is, at the core, an album about translating memory."
He added that the album is his most quintessentially Canadian yet, although many of the songs were inspired by travel — especially to California, where he has been spending a lot of time. It includes the soft and sensitive acoustic number "Amen America," which you can stream below.
The collection also features a couple of decade-old songs that Rutledge previously never finished; "Kapuskasing Coffee" and "Heather in the Pines" both date back to Rutledge's early 20s, and he said, "I consider them to be a co-writes with my younger self and older self."
Valleyheart follows Rutledge's Michael Ondaatje-inspired 2010 album The Early Windows.