In-D-Exposure: 2nd Edition - Ryder And Rutledge

Now, if I were asked to recommend my favourite indie artists in this city that everyone absolutely must see, I'd have to say, hands down, Serena Ryder and Justin Rutledge. They are without a doubt two of the most talented young singer/songwriters to call T.O. home. Their music is to be enjoyed like a fine whisky: sipped slowly, so that every drop is savoured. And now you have not one, but two chances to see both of these artists on the same bill this month.

Serena first came to my attention when someone played her cover of "At Last" for me, the song made famous by Etta James, and I was blown away by the range on this young gal. Her 2004 disc Unlikely Emergency, produced by Hawksley Workman, made waves worldwide, and she's just returned from an Australian tour in which Workman (Ryder's mentor) was her opener.


I first saw Justin live when I booked him for a small show at the now defunct Nia @ C'est What in 2004. I don't think I took my eyes off the stage for a second while he and his band, The Junction Forty, were playing. The alt-country music was dark and haunting, with Justin's rich voice drawing everyone in. I was lucky enough to get a copy of his disc No Never Alone that evening, even though it hadn't yet been released in Canada (it was out in the U.K. where he'd been embraced by the critics and music fans alike).

At two upcoming gigs, Justin will be previewing tunes from his forthcoming album, and Serena is getting set to release a live EP from her recent Australian tour.

On October 24th, both Justin and Serena take the stage at Hugh's Room, along with Michael Johnston, for an acoustic show at the top folk venue in the city. Tickets available directly from Hugh's Room are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. The show's at 8:30, but doors are at 6. Get there early, as the room fills very, very quickly!

Two days later, on October 26th, Justin and Serena go from unplugged to full band in a show at The Mod Club Theatre. Serena will be performing both acoustic and with band, and Justin will be joined by The Junction Forty. Again, tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Get your tix at Ticketpro, Soundscapes, or Rotate This. What more could this music fan ask for? Two of her favourite musicians in one of her favourite venues. You can bet that I'll be there, and you should make a point of checking out either of these two shows. You won't be disappointed!

Photos courtesy of Richard Flohil & Associates

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