940 Bonisteel Rd. Trenton ON
Rob Lutes will soon be counted amongst the ranks of the best in the industry. Insightful and meaty… gutty and gritty… A rare talent that keeps getting better with each project released, one listen will prove he is more than a passing fancy; this guy is here to stay. — Matt Large, Montreal Folk Festival
Since the release of his first album Gravity in 2000, Rob Lutes has steadily built a collection of exquisite songs that inhabit the intersection of blues, folk, Americana, and the contemporary singer-songwriter genre. As skilled delivering a Piedmont blues classic as he is performing his own acclaimed original songs, Lutes’s masterful fingerstyle guitar work and soulful voice bring an unmistakable intensity to his live performances.
One of six kids raised in the town of Rothesay, New Brunswick, the Montreal-based recorded his eighth album Come Around during Fall 2020. The follow-up to 2017’s Walk in the Dark, which earned Folk and Roots Radio’s “Album of the Year”, a Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Vocals, and multiple nominations, Come Around was co-produced by Lutes and longtime collaborator Rob MacDonald at MacDonald’s intimate Gambling Mule Studio. It features 11 original songs, a gritty cover of the traditional acoustic blues classic In My Time of Dyin’, and gorgeous backing vocals from celebrated singer-songwriter Annabelle Chvostek. Replete with Lutes’s literate, melodic songcraft, Come Around is another example of why Canadian critic Daniel Lemay calls Lutes “one of the most important songwriters of his generation.
Highlighting his unmistakable voice and acoustic fingerstyle guitar, the album sees Lutes melding influences of blues, Americana, folk and pop into a fresh electro-acoustic sound as he plots a pathway through the current state of human dislocation with wisdom and humour. On Knives, he views the extremes of love and loss against the realities of domesticity; in Lightning, painful flashes of recognition provide, in the end, a vision of hope; on That Bird Has My Wings, a song inspired by celebrated Buddhist author and death-row inmate Jarvis Jay Masters, Lutes finds hope of freedom in imagination and the natural world; and on Work of Art, the unlived life is recast as a thing of beauty. Lutes also writes movingly of places in his life, conjuring the joys of youth and the comforts of memory in Shediac Bridge, Fisherman’s Rest and Amsterdam. Mixed by celebrated engineer Rob Heaney (Cirque de Soleil, Patrick Watson), the album features some of Canada’s finest roots players, including the versatile MacDonald, veteran sideman Bob Stagg, and Juno-nominated bassist Solon McDade. Recorded at six different studios due to Covid-19 restrictions, the album represents Lutes’s vision for a sort of freedom and joy that can come from struggles, large and small. “We had to make adjustments in how we did this album. We could not be together,” Lutes says. “But from literally across the country, we found a kind of energy through these songs. It was as if we were in the room. We can share so much through common effort and support. That’s how this album was made, and it gives me hope.”
Apart from Come Around and Walk in the Dark, Lutes has released six other full-length albums, including 2009’s acclaimed Truth & Fiction and 2013’s The Bravest Birds which spent seven months in the Roots Music Report top 10 and hit #1 on the EuroAmericana Chart.
He performs solo, in duo with Quebec guitar legend Rob MacDonald, and in full-band format and as part of the roots supergroup Sussex, which has released two albums, Parade Day in 2016, and The Ocean Wide, which earned a 2021 CFMA nomination for Ensemble of the Year.
Lutes has had several of his songs recorded by other artists.
Awards and Nominations:
COME AROUND Nominated for four 2022 Canadian Folk Music Awards – Album, Contemporary Singer, English Songwriter, Producer of the Year (with Rob MacDonald)
Nominated – 2022 Acoustic Act of the Year – Maple Blues Awards