Duane Rutter Waiting Room

Duane Rutter’s warm evocations of loss and regret dominate Waiting Room, a record populated with many characters that miss their loved ones and wish they’d had more time. Rutter betrays the fragility of his narrators with his robust, calming voice and gentle, rolling finger-picking (not to mention the truly excellent assistance from guitar hero for hire Dan Walsh), particularly on standout track "Heartless Wheel,” which breaks up the sonic mourning with light snare rolls while Rutter wonders why "time had other reasons to change the way we feel.” There is no desperation on Waiting Room; instead, this record is a soft blanket comfort for those who have lost and are too tired to keep fighting. It is delicate and lovely medicine for the soul, and a fitting tribute to Rutter’s late mother, to whom the record is dedicated. (Busted Flat)