Jared Lutes - A Matter Of When

Moncton's Jared Lutes remains one of the province's busiest musicians, working full-time on his career, playing all over all the time, numbering over a hundred gigs every year. You'll find him either solo or with his band always around the Moncton area, in Saint John or in Miramichi, or across the border in Truro, and that's just over the next couple of weeks. Since 2010, he's also been active in the recording scene, with a debut EP that year, and a full-length album called When We Grow Younger in 2012. His latest has just come out, another EP, this one with six tracks, called A Matter Of When.

jaredlutes3.jpgLutes has always been known for his roots-rock style, a variation of the heartland rock sound of Mellancamp, Springsteen and Seger. But with this new collection, he's grown as a writer, and a lot more of his personality has gone into the songs. Also, the sound has matured. Lead track I Am Overcome has a Celtic flavour to it, driven by the distinct mandolin playing of local bluegrass wiz Ray Legere. Rather than classic rock, it has a timeless quality to it, and sets a good tone for the new disc, something that says things have progressed for him. The title cut comes next, a warm ballad that shows off his mellow voice. Now we're into romantic territory, but with a question mark; there's been a fight, it's a crucial moment, will there be a future, or will this be the stuff of sad memories? It's a strong lyric, and certainly a different kind of love song.

There's a warmth to the acoustic numbers here, helped by the production and engineering skills Lutes has been working on the past couple of years. To get the right ambiance, he set up shop in Albert County's Parkindale Hall, to grab that rich natural reverb of an old sanctuary. The acoustic guitar is rich and close up in the mix, and Lutes' voice has a deep, warm quality to it. After the first half of the CD takes us in new directions, Lutes shows he's still connected to the pop-rock sound as well, with a couple of bright, uptempo numbers, Feel Your Love and Light My Way, showing he's still connected to that roots sound as well. Light My Way, especially, is one that could have come straight from Bob Seger's hit-making days, Lutes pulling double-duty by adding a killer organ line to the track, making it instantly memorable.

But really, the focus here is the new, stronger songwriting Lutes has developed of late. It's more of him, less of his influences, and a lot of soul has come out in the lyrics. All those gigs, all those kilometres and nights away from family have left their mark; he's drawn on his own experience, and become a better writer thanks to that. You can see him in concert Saturday at The Barrel's Head in Rothesay, and then a couple of Moncton dates, Cheers on March 29, and Casino New Brunswick on April 4.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob 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).

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