The 71st anniversary of the D-day invasion, which launched the Invasion of Normandy was June 6. This historic event was the beginning of the end for the Nazis and the first step for the Allies retaking Europe. For most of my life, my connection to this important battle was kind of vague. As a Canadian, I was grateful for the sacrifices of so many brave souls who fought there but I had no personal link. None of my family, as far as I knew, had been involved. But then something changed to bring it into better… Read more
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
A few new/old songs and rarities have been uploaded to the outtakes section. Check them out here.
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 canadianblues.ca 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
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: www.thewateroflife.ca
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.