Sun, Oct 30, 2011.
Singer-songwriter Rob Lutes is wandering back to these parts for shows, a not-uncommon occurrence since he's from the Saint John area originally, with family still there. Lutes is based in Montreal, where this disc was recorded (well, just outside), along with his usual playing partner, strumming whiz MacDonald. It comes after years of requests for a live disc, and this gives you pretty much exactly what you'd see at a show, as it all comes from one night, not by design, but by the fact everybody was on and the performances were tight and right.
Lutes is a fine roots/blues writer, one of those gems you find by chance as you're going through a town and he's going through a town and you just want a beer and he gives you the show of the year. With a mellow voice and rustic core, you know every song is the truth, at least what they say about the human condition. There's a lot of traveling songs in his repertoire, so he's obviously been checking out what makes us all tick, and passes on the stories that connect us.
The tracks come from Lutes' four studio albums, plus some good covers, including the smart choice of the secretly-soulful To Love Somebody by the (early) Bee Gees. He points out the references in bio material, and you start to get a good picture of where he fits in: He mentions Chris Smither and Chris Whitley, and I can think of a few others (even a Kris) in the songwriter world, those that move from towns to Townes, looking for the next audience and the next story.
Catch Lutes back home with another local product, Thom Swift, at the Arena Theatre in St. Andrews on Wednesday, Nov. 16, Plan B in Moncton on Thursday the 17th and the Vintage Bistro in Hampton on the 18th, the Friday.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).