I recently completed some film composition work for G. Scott MacLeod's next film, the wonderfully touching The Griffintown Tour – The Death and Life of Griffintown: 21 Stories. My music has been used in film and television many times, but this was my first try and writing and recording my own material for film. Some of the 21 vignettes required a minimalist approach. I loved working through these compositions. Here is one example - Slowly Gently along the Canal

My new project Sussex has three shows coming up at three beautiful Quebec venues. First, a fresh Sussex will take to the stage at the stunning La Basoche in Gatineau. This show will feature my longtime partner in crime guitarist Rob MacDonald and violinish Sebastien Savard - two monster players - along with Ivanhoe Jolicoeur and me on trumpet and guitar. This will be a special night. 
On November 4th, Sebastien, Ivan, Michael Emenau and me hit the stage at Petit Campus. We are sharing the night with extraordinary Montreal bluegrass band Notre Dame de Grass. We shared the stage twice at the Mariposa Folk Festival this summer and it was such a cool melding of styles we decided to do it again for our hometown crowd. This should be another unique and musically explosive night. 
Finally, Sussex takes to the stage at Joliette's La Mitaine -- one of my favourites venues in Quebec. All info on these shows is on my TOUR page. 

And on Friday, November 25th, I will be joining a great lineup of Canadian artists at Mitch Melnick and Billy Bob Productions 40th Anniversary Celebration of The Last Waltz, one of the all-time great concert events. This will be a great night of music. For more info on the event, check out the press release here -

I am just back from a great tour in the East including the great Deep Roots Festival in Wolfville, NS. I am excited to be returning to The Cove Inn in Westport on Friday, October 7. This is a great room in a historic inn on Rideau Lake. If you are in the area--and that includes Kingston and environs--come by and see this great spot with live acoustic music and awesome food. I will be featuring a number of new tunes. 
More info here -

This is a live version of the first ever performance of I AM THE BLUES, a new song inspired by the wonderful EyesteelFilm movie of the same name released in 2016. I AM THE BLUES, the film, is the most moving journey through the blues that I have ever seen. I highly recommend you check it out. More info at 
This video was taken by Bilal Butt at the Montreal premiere of the film in CHOM FM's legendary Rock Room. 
Some dates coming later this month. Details on my TOUR page as well. 

Sussex Eastern Canadian Tour
Musically, Sussex goes back to the roots and into totally some pretty new musical territory.Michael Emenau and I will be going back to our real roots in late September when we tour the Maritimes. 
It's almost surreal for us, friends since we were kids in East Riverside, New Brunswick, to be going back to play there. But there you are, life does bring things to around sometimes to that concentrated place where you are forced to take note of how far you've come and how much is the same. So this will be fun. The gigs are in Sackville, Dartmouth -, Wolfville, for the Deep Roots Festival -, Rothesay -, and St Andrews. More info on the Tour  page. And we're showcasing at Contact East, a great showcase for the Atlantic music world. 

Hope to see some of you at these shows. 

Sussex Signs with Agence Resonances
I am very happy to announce that my new project Sussex has signed Agence Resonances for Canada and International bookings. Resonances is the next iteration of PS Paré, a legendary Montreal-based agency with a fantastic lineup of artists. For more info visit -

Sussex Still in Top 50
As of last week, my new project Sussex's album  Parade Day was still sitting at number 40 on the North American Roots Music Report blues chart, seven months after its release. We are thrilled at the response to this very unusual record. 

In miscellaneous news, I spent a good part of my recent trek through the east visiting family listening to Randy Newman's 1972 album Sail Away in the car, and am once again inspired by the writing. From the title track through the truly timeless satire Political Science, that record just seems to improve with time. 
Also on the trip was Kris Kristofferson - Live from San Francisco. Another writer with economic and devastating use of the language. He's 80 now - hard for me to fathom that really. But this album catches his raw beauty so wonderfully. Here's a link to find it. 
Live from San Francisco

Be well and see some of you in Kingsville I hope. 

Sussex at Mariposa and Tremblant 
Sussex will be playing two wonderful festivals in the coming week. This weekend, we are at the venerable Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario. I will also be doing a few solo slots. Next week, we'll be at the Tremblant International BluesFest in Tremblant. QC. This is always a great place to see music. We'll be on the Place St Bernard Stage at 1:30 on Tuesday July 12th. 
Also next Thursday, July 14, I'll be appearing at Calistoga Grill in Pointe-Claire with my longtime musical collaborator Rob MacDonald. Sets start at 7. 

Upcoming guest appearance at Montreal Jazz Fest with Ian Kelly
I am really looking forward to guesting with Ian Kelly during his show at Club Soda, Saturday July 2 at 6 pm. Ian is a great songwriter and performer and a good friend. I played on his latest album Superfolk, which is one of finest albums I've heard this year. 
Following that I will be solo at the Arts Alive Festival in Quebec City on Sunday, July 3. Next week, Sussex plays the mother of all Canadian folk festivals, Mariposa. And on June 12, we will appear at Tremblant International Blues Fest
Be well and hope to see some of you out there. 

Sussex at Montreal Folk Festival - JUNE 17 
Sussex will be bringing its unique form of genre-defying roots music to the Montreal Folk Festival next Friday, June 17 at 6 p.m at the Esplanade du Centenaire. Going to be a beautiful night of music outdoors on the Canal. Come join us.

Europe Tour over - Sussex at FGMAT June 3
I am just finished my eighth tour in Europe, and as always, it was an intense, musically engaging bunch of shows. I will soon have video to post from a couple performances. Now getting excited to bring Sussex in six-piece format to FGMAT on June 3. After that, it's a series of festivals and summer shows, including the Montreal Folk Festival, Tremblant International Bluesfest, Mariposa, Kingsville Folk Music Festival and the Deep Roots Festival. 
All info posted on the tour page. Hope to see you out there. 

Festival Guitares du Monde en Abitibi-Temiscamingue

Benefit Concert for Syrian Refugee Family - Friday, May 6
I'm excited to be playing this event in my backyard. Come out and support a great cause.

Gaspé Dates, Schools, and Europe Dates
I'm heading off to the Gaspé region of Quebec tomorrow to play shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday and give in-school songwriting workshops on Monday and Tuesday. Dates are on the Tour page. I have not been to this remote but gorgious region of Quebec since the demise of the Maximum Blues Festival, a great event that used to be held annually in Carlton-sur-Mer. 
And some Europe dates are up on the Tour page now. Looking forward to heading back overseas for a short tour in mid-May. 

Festival Blues et Jazz du Saguenay next week, and Sussex Sessions and Songwriting
The first of a number of festivals I will be fortunate to be part of this year, happens next weekend in Chicoutimi. They have an eclectic lineup. Sussex will be there as a trio with Ivanhoe Jolicouer and Josh Zubot joining me on trumpet and violin.  Also, Sussex Sessions at Cafe L'insouciant continues this Wednesday... Michael Emenau and I will have Ivanhoe  as a our guest on trumpet. 
Finally, I am hosting a third songwriting workshop this Saturday, April 9. These events have been amazing so far. Contact me here for more information. 

Live at The Cove Inn - April 1
Excited to play the venerable Cove Inn in Westport Ontario tonight, Friday, April 1. More info here -
Tomorrow's show at Studio 13 in Dundas is sold out. 

Sussex - Parade Day Album Launch at Irene's Pub in Ottawa -- Friday, March 25 with Special Guest L'il Andy
This is going to be a great night of Montreal music in the capital. Sussex in four-piece featuring MNO on vibes, Josh Zubot on violin, Ivanhoe Jolicoeur on trumpet and flugelhorn and me on guitar and banjo. Just 12 bucks... come on out with seven friends if you are in Ottawa. If not, tell your friends there. 

Beautiful Review of ''genre-ignoring'' Parade Day, Launch Saturday Feb. 19 in St-Hyacinthe 
Music critic Bob Merereau has written what is one of our favourite reviews of Parade Day. He searches for the genre but comes to the conclusion we have - ''But really, it's more like "The guy who writes roots folk, blues and jazz songs on acoustic guitar teams up with a vibraphone player with beautiful melodies, and they colour it with violin, acoustic bass, trumpet and some electric guitar." File under:           ''  You can read the whole thing here

Sussex will be launching Parade Day at one of our favourite Quebec venues, Le Zaricot in Sainte-Hyacinthe. I've played this room many times over the years, and it will be the perfect venue for this band--warm wood interior, great sound. It's just 40 minutes from Montreal and I highly recomend the experience. 

Montreal Weekly Sussex Sessions at Cafe L'Insouciant 
Sussex is embarking on a weekly Wednesday show at Cafe L'Insouciant at 4282 rue St. Denis. Michael Emenau and I will start at 7 p.m. and play a couple of sets with a special guest every week. We'll see where the music takes us. Cafe L'Insouciant has a great vibe, awesome Middle Eastern inspired cuisine and it's licensed.

Guest Spot on Ian Kelly's Brand New Album Superfolk
I was happy to contribute guitar to singer-songwriter Ian Kelly's new album Superfolk. I played the Gibson L-00 on You've Got To Know. The album came out on Friday March 4. It's a really strong one. Check it out here -!/blogs/2016/3/First-Play-Ian-Kelly-Superfolk

Launch Photos and Another Review of Parade Day 
Some great photos of the full-house launch of Parade Day courtesy of James St Laurent. 
Parade Day Launch photos
Thanks to all who attended. The album continues to recieve great reviews, including one from noted roots critic Mike Regenstreif -

Sussex Featured in Montreal Gazette - Montreal Launch Tonight 
A fine story by Bernie Perusse on the band in yesterday's Montreal Gazette. Launch tonight at La Sala Rossa. Ticket info here
Montreal Gazette story on Sussex - Parade Day

Sussex on Global News Montreal
I greeted the sun yesterday driving east on highway 20 into Montreal yesterday morning to do the Global morning show. Kind of fun interview with Michael and I. Global News - A Band Called Sussex

We were thrilled to see Sussex's new album Parade Day hit number 4 on the EuroAmericana chart in January. Now we are focused on the launch coming up on Friday in Montreal. Details are here. 

Sussex - Parade Day Launch 
Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at La Sala Rossa
4848 St. Laurent Blvd.
Admission costs $20. Students pay $10 at the door and children 12 and under get in free.
For details and regular-price ticket purchases, go to"

Please come and bring seven friends. 

And here's a little video of our launch January 30 at le Vieux Bureau de Poste near Quebec City. Michael Emenau and me doing Eagle on the Moon
Eagle on the Moon - Live

European review of Parade Day  
There is love for Sussex in the Netherlands. We are really happy at how the album is being received. 
Pop Blogspot Review

Parade Day review, Journal Metro Montreal 
There is a really nice review of the new Sussex album Parade Day in the Metro today. You can read it here.
Journal Metro Review - Parade Day

Looking back, looking forward
As I get ready to launch the new Sussex album Jan. 30 at Vieux Buread de Poste in Saint-Romuald and and Feb. 5 at Sala Rossa in Montreal. I've been looking back at the release of The Bravest Birds in 2013. This piece by Bernie Perusse before that launch is one of the best articles ever written about my work. And there are links to a couple interesting videos. 

Gazette story

Early European Review, Parade Day 
Sussex's album has recieved great review from the prominent website Written in Music. Check it out here
Written in Music, review, Sussex - Parade Day

Montreal Launch - Friday, February 5 at Sala Rossa
We are excited to be launching the new Sussex album Parade Day at Sala Rossa in Montreal on Friday, February 5 at Sala Rossa in Montreal. More launch info to come. Get tickets to the Montreal launch by visiting Hello Darlin Productions here

Parade Day available for sale
My new project Sussex's eclectic, intense and beautiful new album Parade Day is available for purchase at this site and others. Featuring a lineup of some of Canada's finest players on 11 original songs and one cover, the album is an original love letter to the blues and jazz of the 20s that influenced myself and other band founder Michael Emenau. 
 Rob Lutes (guitar, vocal), Michael Emenau (vibraphone), Benoit Charest (guitar), Josh Zubot (violin), Sage Reynolds (bass), Ivanhoé Jolicoeur (trumpet).

To purchase download or hard copy on visit the Store.

After that, our favorite is BANDCAMP -    

And of course there is iTunes -   If you purchase via  iTunes, please write a comment as it ups visibility.

For physical CD’s, go to and click on the green button (CD$20,00) 

For Montreal locals, the official release party is on Feb. 5th at Sala Rosa. For tickets Contact Hello Darlin Productions

First Press Mention of Parade Day
The new album Parade Day has had its first mention in the press. You can check it out here. In Dutch. 
Dutch Blog/Parade Day Review

Sussex Pre-launch show Saturday, Nov. 28
Sussex will be giving a pre-launch, one-set, family friendly show at Cafe L'Insouciant at 4284 St Denis this coming Saturday at 6:30 pm. We'll be in three-piece format with Michael Emenau on vibes, Ivanhoe Jolicoeur on trumpet. We will also have the new CD available for sale.

Sussex Live Video
Sussex performed to a sold-out Adair Hall as at Sainte-Anne Blues Cafe on Friday, October 30. The four-piece with Josh Zubot, Michael Emenau, Ivanhoe Jolicoeur and me did a range of songs from the new album Parade Day and a number of my other songs, including As My Heart Will Allow, from The Bravest Birds. This is Sussex in a certain kind of sweet spot. 
As My Heart Will Allow - Sussex live

Sussex at Upstairs
Wednesday I'll be at Upstairs with Michael Emenau, Josh Zubot and Ivanhoe Jolicoeur from my new band Sussex.. .And we should have our albums on hand. 
The music touches most of my favourite roots in blues. jazz and folk, and where else do you get to hear flugelhorn, vibraphone and banjo on the same gig. 
Come check us out Wednesday, October 21 at 8 pm at Upstairs. Details at these links. 
Upstairs event page
Facebook event page

Festival of Song in Huntsville

I'm really looking forward to playing this new festival in Huntsville, ON, founded and organized by my friend Michele Bateman. Anyone in the Huntsville region, please come by and see us. 

House Concert in NDG
Anyone who knows me well knows I lived many years in the NDG borough of Montreal. I am happy to be playing a house concert very close to where I lived in that neighbourhood... Paul and Nathalie have a great little space. Everyone is welcome. Just follow the link for more information or email me directly through my contact page. 

Paul and Nathalie's House Concert featuring Grouyon Gumbo and Rob Lutes

New Sussex Video
We're happy to release this new video which offers a preview of some of the songs on the new Sussex album, Parade Day, which is going to mastering next week and will be released in early 2016.  It was filmed by Martin Gauthier and edited by Craeon.
Sussex - Parade Day album preview

Montreal Benefit Show for David Suzuki's Blue Dot Campaign - Sept. 4 
I am really happy to be guesting at my friend Derek Olive's upcoming Blue Dot Campaign fundraised at the Monument National. The show is Friday, September 4 at 8 p.m., and will feature another friend, Ian Kelly, also coming on as guest. 
This show represents the last one of Derek's cross-Canada bicycle tour... that's right bicycle. He rode from Vancouver Island to Winnipeg --with his partner Diane biking by his side. The two of them carried all the gear including guitar, tent, etc. Tickets are 20 dollars and all proceeds go to the Blue Dot campaign. To buy tickets visit 
The Blue Dot Campaign, which is dedicated to ensuring all all Canadians have access to clear water, air and food. To learn more, visit
And to see more about Derek's ride and his music, check out
Hope you'll join us and support this great initiative...and Derek and Diane's amazing odyssey. 

CBC Piece for Rothesay Show
CBC's Bob Mersereau has written a nice piece about my upcoming show at The Barrel's Head on Sunday afteroon. Tickets available at the door. With Apryll Aileen on the bill be a fun show. Here is the piece.
In Touch with NB Roots

PEI Show August 5 at the Trailside Cafe
Really happy to be giving a performance at the legendary Trailside Cafe in Mount Steward, PEI. I lived on the island for two years in the early 1990s, and first performed at the venue in the late 90s with my good friend Sandi MacKinnon. Hope to see lots of old friends at the show. Ticket reservations are recommended. Just visit the TRAILSIDE website for information.

SUSSEX Show, Upstairs Jazz Bar, Montreal... Tuesday July 21H
I'm really excited to bring this new band to life next week in Montreal. We've got a very cool album in the can and are going to be playing a bunch of those tunes and some surprising covers in trio format, with Michael Emenau on vibraphone and perucussion, Ivanhoe Jolicoeur on trumpet and flugelhorn, and me on acoustic guitar and banjo. Show info available here - Upstairs
Check out one of the rough mixes of the tunes from the upcoming album as a taster. 
Truth and Lies

Tickets Available for Barrel's Head show in Rothesay
Happy to be playing my old hometown of Rothesay, NB again on August 16.  Tickets available at the Barrel's Head or contacta 506 216-2622 for more information. 

PEI Show Announced
Happy to announce that I'll be playing at the wonderful Trailside Cafe in Mount Stewart, PEI on Wednesday, August 5. Tickets are available by contacting the venue. 

House of Dreams live-in-studio
I was looking through a folder of instrumental takes from th 2006 album Ride the Shadows when I came across this live take of House of Dreams from those sessions. We started recording the CD with this tune, doing everything live. This didn't end up on the CD but this one really works for me, and it features very different lyrics from the released version. 

This recording features the great Rob MacDonald on resophonic guitar and Quebec legend Stephen Barry on upright bass. The session took place late on a Wednesday night during non-working hours at the National Film Board's Studio 2 in Montreal, with the wonderful and unflappable Geoff Mitchell engineering. You can hear our reaction at the end of the track. Check it out here - House of Dreams

Le Canadien/The French Canadian
For the past few years, I've had the pleasure of working with Montreal artist and filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod, writing support materials and sometimes contributing music for his recent films, primarily his brilliant four-part series called The Water of Life which tells the stories of the earliest peoples in Canada. The final film in the series was just finished and may be my favourite. Called The French Canadien, it tells an iconic tale of the first French immigrants to Lower Canada in the 1600s. You can view the trailer here, The French Canadian or read more about the series here, The Water of Life

Grove Hall and Learn Workshops
I've had the pleasure of giving a couple workshops over the past couple of days. Saturday, I was in Huntingdon, QC, about 10 km from the NY border speaking to a group of musicians about songwriting and working in the music business. It's a huge topic obviously, and one I talked about in my latest blog. The day, as it turned out, was just a great experience with some talented songwriters and players. As an added benefit, it gave me a chance to see the beautiful Grove Hall, an 1860 church that has been converted into a community arts centre and is run by Mark and Tina Bye. Along with music and theatre, they are planning to begin renting it as a recording space. The acoustics are stunning. Check the place out here. GROVE HALL

Monday, I gave my first workshop by videoconference, using Learn Quebec's offices in Laval to do a songwriting workshop with a group of students at Quebec High School. This is a very avant garde school, which has its own full recording studio. In fact, these 12 to 14 year old students are releasing a CD in the coming week or two featuring 14 original songs. When I have info on the CD and a place to listen or buy, I will post here. One of Learn Quebec's teacher/program developers, Ben Loomer, took a photo of our conference setup. 
That photo and Pierre Lachance s images from Grove Hall cn be viewed as the latest photo entry on the photos and video page

Back at Tremblant Bluesfest
I'm happy to announce that I will be back at one of my favourite festivals again this year. Tremblant International Bluesfest is a world class event and was one of the first festivals I played. I'll be there with my old friend Rob MacDonald. You can check the fest and the schedule here. TREMBLANT INTERNATIONAL BLUESFEST

New Outtakes
A few new/old songs and rarities have been uploaded to the outtakes section. Check them out here.

Porchfest Video

I didn't know what to expect from Porchfest, but this new community festival in the legendary west end neighbourbood of NDG was amazing.  My show on West Hill Avenue ended up with more than 300 folks, on lawns, in the street, across the street. It was something to see. Someone sent me this video a couple days ago and it gives a small sense of the stage, er porch, and the sound I managed to get using my buddy, singer-songwriter Dale Boyle's Fishman Loudbox Artist... what an amp. 
Thanks to Sharon Sweeney and her husband Andrew Frank, for inviting me to play. Trivia - Andrew is the gifted engineer who recorded and mixed my first two albums. 

I Know a Girl -- from the porch

New Live Studio Video from Sussex
My old friend, the vibraphonist Michael Emenau, and I are in a new project called Sussex. We recorded our debut album at Studio Frisson in Montreal in November, for release in fall 2015. To check out some of the roughs, visit the Sussex homepage here. One of the funky parts of the project is the mix of instruments--acoustic guitar, electric guitar, trumpet, violin, upright bass and vibraphone. Ever wonder how vibraphone and guitar sound... wonder no more. A week or two ago we cut some live tracks in a little basement studio here in Montreal. Here's a video of us performing my song Spence. 

'SPENCE' live in studio by Michael Emenau and Rob Lutes

Homestretch for Debut Sussex Album 

The debut album of the new record from Sussex is going into the final mixing stages. Recorded at Studio Frisson in Montreal in November, the record will be ready for release in fall 2015. To check out some of the roughs, visit the Sussex homepage here

Things We Didn't Choose Live at Moulin Michel

The band was just up in Becacour, Quebec, about two hours east of Montreal, to play a show at the Moulin Michel de Gentilly, a stone mill from the 1700s that has been preserved as a stunning venue and historic site, complete with a pancake bar that offers pancakes using buckwheat only, a boon to the gluten intolerant, and to older folks from NB who had something for the buckwheat. My great-grandfather JN Lutes used to always order these, no matter where were went when I was a kind in NB, and it seemed that every restaurant had them.. This video is lofi but I like the groove it captures, raw and real. 

Things We Didn't Choose - live at Moulin Michel, April 12, 2015

Montreal Blues Society Photo Gallery

Andie Maranda, formerly of is in Montreal and working with the Montreal Blues Society! She came by Rob MacDonald and my show last night and took a bunch of photos. You can see them, and check out the new Montreal Blues Society website here:
Blues Montreal photo gallery Rob Lutes & Rob MacDonald

Animation Soundtrack

I was recently asked by my friend, filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod, to record a version of Un Canadien Errant for the final credits of his upcoming animated film The French-Canadian. The song was written
in 1842 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie after the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837–38. I called my old friend Josephine von Soukonnov, who sang such amazing vocals on my last two records, LIVE and The Bravest Birds. We got together at her place and cut this in a few hours in her home studio (which she runs with Dmitri von Soukonnov, her partner in life and in the great group KINZAZA).
I played the acoustic guitar and sang the lead and some harmonies. Josephine and Dmitri did the rest. I really like the result. It will feature in Scott's upcoming film and in a compilation of his four beautiful animated films on Canadian history, The Water of LIfe. Check out The Water of LIfe project here:
And you can check out our version of Un Canadien Errant right here: Un Canadien Errant

From the Vaults

Just found this little recording (linked to below) from 2006. The Rob Lutes Band at the time was Rob MacDonald on guitar, Tony Cuco on bass and RD Harris on drums. We played for a number of years and all these guys were integral parts of the first three records! This recording reminds me of the joy of playing in that band. This was recorded in Oren Weber's basement studio... Oren was a friend and neighbor and that's also where most of the Middle Ground record was mixed (and some of the overdubs played).
Anyway, we recorded this and a few other blues classics because we wanted to get a gig at the Montreal Jazz Fest on the big blues stage. It worked and we did at stage that year as a five piece with Bob Stagg in the mix as well. This song became a staple in the live show. No monitors so the singing is a little pitchy, but I kind of dig that now. Rob MacDonald mixed this... came out real nice like his stuff always does.
Come on in My Kitchen - Live off the floor

As My Heart Will Allow Gets Runner-up in Cobalt Songwriting Prize

Rob is really honoured to have had his song As My Heart Will Allow given a runner-up award in the Cobalt Prize for Contemporary Blues Composition (announced at the Maple Blues Awards in Toronto on Monday, January 19. Big thanks to Paul Reddick and the Toronto Blues Society for creating this award that looks at songs that push at the borders of the blues and congrats to the winners, Raven and ShoShana of Digging Roots and the other runner up Samantha Martin!

You can check out the song here:
Or purchase here

Outtakes are back!
The Outtakes page is back up on the site, with some little live gems and unpublished songs from over the years. We will be adding to this from time to time. Check it out here.
The Bravest Birds - Rob Lutes
Rob lutes 11x17billingual poster rev nov2011

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