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Justin Rutledge: Man Descending

Justin Rutledge

Justin Rutledge
Photo: Andrew Hoshkiw

TORONTO, August 10, 2008 -- St Mike's Alumni and Toronto native Justin Rutledge is getting close to the point where his name needs no descriptor after it. At least not in his hometown. As we slip past the halfway point of 2008 the singer-songwriter has already accrued his first Juno nomination for his second album Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park, his latest Man Descending made the Polaris Music Prize long-list, and he opened up a series of sold-out shows for friend and Polaris nominee Kathleen Edwards. While those accomplishments are pretty worthy notches on any musician's belt, the country-music poet just experienced what will arguably be among his most favoured memories of the year: The Dawson City Music Festival. He and his bandmate David Baxter traveled up, way up, past Whitehorse to play for an adoring audience 300 km south of the Arctic Circle. The weekend was kicked off by CBC North's Afternoon Show broadcasting live from the Odd Fellows Hall where Justin played a 25 minute set between Basia Bulat, Julie Doiron, and the Whitehorse Blues Allstars. Justin said the best part of the Dawson weekend was playing at the Palace Grand Theatre. The Theatre is a goldrush-era room complete with balconies, baulstrades, and wooden-spindle chairs. At the end of his show he stood on the jutting catwalk of the historic stage to play Don't Be So Mean Jellybean for 300 audience members, every one of whom sang along wholeheartedly. When Justin left the stage the applause was enough to force the old flags hanging off the balonies to flutter with the fervour. After the weekend's musical responsibilities were fulfilled Justin and David visited a family mine where he unearthed part of a mammoth tusk and panned for gold nuggets! Not your average weekend, even for a rockstar!

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