Folk Roots Radio Episode 665: feat. Justin Rutledge – Something Easy & More New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 665: feat. Justin Rutledge - Something Easy & More New Releases

Juno award winning singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge joins us on Episode 665 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his tenth recording “Something Easy”, an excellent album he recorded and produced himself – for the first time. As always, we wrap up the rest of the episode with more of the latest new releases, and this time around we include new music from Clare Siobhan, LittleFox, Tia McGraff, Sophie Lukacs, Maggie Fraser and Jenn Grant. Remember, If you like the artists you hear on this show and want to support them, don’t just stream their music – BUY their music, and then you’ll really make a difference to their income at a time when it is becoming much more difficult to make a living as a musician. Check out the full playlist below.

Best 2020


Singer-Songwriter Justin Rutledge picked up both the Juno Award for Roots Album of the Year and a Canadian Folk Music Award for his 2013 album “Valleyheart”. Justin also been nominated for three more Junos, and has been long-listed for the critic-voted Polaris Music Prize. “Something Easy”, his latest album, and tenth recording, is a project he worked on at home during the COVID pandemic – recording and producing it himself, for the first time.

“It started after Jack, our firstborn, came along. I had no time to go into the studio, so I started learning how to engineer and record myself. I ended up producing the whole album at home, working for 45 minutes to an hour each night for 2 years and calling friends for advice about the recording process. It was probably the slowest album I’ve ever made, but at the same time, I was teaching myself the basics of engineering All of these songs are about youth, and I hadn’t realized that. And it’s interesting because I feel that, as a new dad, there’s this transition that’s happening where suddenly I’m realizing I’m in my 40s. And what’s happening is that our wild-and-free years are suddenly over there, and our ‘middle-aged’ years are now right here. I feel like I’m at this apex where I’m thinking a lot about my youth, But I’m not lamenting anything. I’m not old, I’m just shocked at how suddenly this new phase of life has begun.”

Learning how to record to engineer and produce is not the only thing that Justin got up to during his enforced time at home. He also took guitar lessons – for the first time in his life, even though he’s been making a living as a professional musician for 20 years now. He also found time to return to school for a degree in Arts Administration, and took an internship behind the scenes at the iconic Canadian concert venue Massey Hall.

For more information about the music of Justin Rutledge, visit

Show Notes

We started off the episode with Clare Siobhan, and “Flare”, a song about struggling with life’s challenges. You can find it on Clare’s debut EP “Seek The Sun”, which was produced by Erin Costelo.

“‘Flare’ is a song about change – about struggling with it, weathering it, and finally moving through it with grace. I wrote it while driving back home after receiving some unexpected and scary news; I was thinking about the unpredictability of change, and I was worrying about my ability to cope with it.”

“Catastrophe takes ahold of me / Simplicity is lost / Easy’s never easy for me / Relief’s not worth the cost,” laments Siobhan, before turning the corner in the song’s waning moments: “Change won’t weigh me down.” (Lyric)

“A few weeks later I finally wrote that last, lighter part of the song. I was looking desperately for change around me, for signs that huge events could still happen and the outcome could still be joyful. I was looking out my window at the tree in my backyard and thought about the changing of the seasons. Like clockwork, leaves sprout on barren branches, birds return, and life goes on. There’s an inevitability to change and such stability in its repetition, which I find comforting.”

Vancouver based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alison Jenkins makes music as LittleFox. On this episode we play the title track from her second EP “Ghost In This House”. It’s a great album, and that’s the third track we’ve played from it.

“The songs on ‘Ghost In This House’ run the gamut from sparkling happiness to deep despair. It’s not surprising really, seeing as they were all written during the plague-ridden pandemic years. For me, the pandemic was often a strangely happy time: I spent hours writing songs, playing instruments, and- when the rules relaxed somewhat- forging new and wonderful friendships and deepening old ones. Cocooned and protected from the stresses that others were suffering, I became the best version of myself, even as I watched other people crack under the strain. But there is always a price to be paid. Eventually I began to feel like I was fiddling as Rome burned all around me.”

“If the song, ‘Ghost In This House’ is about any one thing, it is about the concept of place: searching for it, finding it, and having it forcibly taken from you.”

Talking of great albums, “Sometimes Love’s Like That” comes from “With Love”, the latest EP from Port Dover ON singer-songwriter Tia McGraff EP with support from her music and life partner Tommy Parham.

The instrumental on this episode comes Toronto based kora player and singer-songwriter Sophie Lukacs who while hailing from Hungary, now makes her home in Montreal. Initially training on the violin, a trip to Burkina Faso in her early twenties changed her life, as it was there that she discovered the kora. Sophie started lessons soon after, and travelled to Paris for a master class with kora legend Toumani Diabaté. When he invited her to study with him in Bamako, Mali, she packed her bags and headed off. Sophie spent seven years in Mali (learning fluent Bambara along the way), studying with kora masters Toumani Diabaté and Ballake Sissoko’s family. You can find the beautiful “Cité El Farako” on Sophbie’s latest album, “Bamako”. Bamako also features Malian musician Habib Koité.

Toronto singer-songwriter Maggie Fraser has been writing songs for other people for many years. She is now releasing music as a solo artist under her own name. “Your Ghost” is a sad song about a widow dealing with the unfathomable loss of a much loved partner. You can find it on Maggie’s first release as a singer and songwriter “The Way That I Wish It Was”, which was produced by partner Alec Fraser Jr.

“All Of This Time” which also feat. Bahamas on vocals come from Jenn Grant’s forthcoming album “Champagne Problems” which features co-writes and performances with other Canadian artists.

“While at home in Lake Echo, Nova Scotia during the pandemic, I was struck by the idea that my musician friends were also sheltering in place. It was an opportunity I felt I had to take advantage of”.

“Part of the fun game of it for me was to see how people were and to get to know them better through how they write. It definitely opened me up. When I was a younger, I was a very stream-of-consciousness songwriter. Talking about songs and figuring out what we were actually coming up with was eye-opening. And they were good writing exercises, I learned stuff.”

“It does feel like this weird world I’ve lived in the past few years I’ve loved. Making an album with a bunch of people who were also at home at that time feels like something something that I’ll look back on and be like, Oh yeah, that was a really strange, special moment in my life.”

All Of This Time has a beautiful video. It’s just lovely.

That’s all we have time for. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have lots of great music and interviews to bring you on future episodes.

If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!

Stay safe and well everyone!

Photo credit: Justin Rutledge.


You can listen to this episode by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on-demand, via Soundcloud and wherever you get your podcasts – including on both Apple Podcasts and Spotify (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform).


Dave McEathron
His Mother Called Him Angel (Instrumental Version) (Theme)
Abandoned Companions (2018, Self) CDN

Clare Siobhan
(single) (2023, Self) CDN

Ghost In This House
Ghost In This House (2023, World Peach Records) CDN

Tia McGraff
Sometimes Love’s Like That
With Love (2022, Bandana Records) CDN

Sophie Lukacs
Cité El Farako
Bamako (2023, Self) CDN

Justin Rutledge
Angry Young Man
Something Easy (2023, Outside Music) CDN

Interview: Justin Rutledge discussing his new album “Something Easy”.

Justin Rutledge
Something Easy (2023, Outside Music) CDN

Justin Rutledge
Something Easy (2023, Outside Music) CDN

Justin Rutledge
Something Easy (2023, Outside Music) CDN

Maggie Fraser
Your Ghost
The Way That I Wish It Was (2023, Self) CDN

Jenn Grant
All Of This Time (feat. Bahamas)
(single) (2023, Self) CDN

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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