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Irish Musician Seamus Ruttledge’s Brilliant New Album is ‘strange.’

Review by BILL NEVINS, Contributing Writer

Seamus Rutledge has established a reputation as one of Ireland’s most respected contemporary songwriters. Music critics have written “the songs of Seamus Rutledge cut deep into the soul, and straight to the chase.” Poet Pat Ingoldsby has said Ruttledge’s songs and music are “gentle, mighty healing, and exceedingly beautiful.” Seamus Ruttledge is a regular performer at Galway’s legendary, always-packed music venues: the Roisin Dubh, The Crane, and Campbell’s Tavern. He also performs at major Irish music festivals.

Born in County Mayo, Seamus Ruttledge now lives near the town of Tuam, County Galway, where I had the pleasure of visiting with him in the summer of 2017. I found him to be a skilled literary/ musical artist and an astute observer of world culture.

The West - of - Ireland songwriter/poet recently released his fourth album, Strange. For Strange, Seamus collaborated (during the recent Covid lockdown) with Irish producer Axel Grude under the group name Ruttlemush. Strange has been described as “an alternative soul album”.

Here is the link to the album and information on how to order it, on Bandcamp:

The project evolved experimentally from Seamus’s recent spoken word poetry pieces and his earlier recordings. Seamus’s new material took shape as the songs ‘Long Story’, ‘Ancients’, ‘New Time’, and the album’s title track, ‘Strange’. Producer Axel Grude reimagined some of Seamus’s older work -- songs like ‘New Shoes’, ‘All the Blooms’ and ‘Secret Child’--in an ambient, “soulful” context.

Personnel on Strange are: Seamus Ruttledge, vocals and acoustic guitars; Axel Grude, keyboards, guitars, mandolin, arrangements; Rick Harris, acoustic and lead electric guitars, slide guitar, bass; Gerry McHugh, percussion; Mike Ivory, lead and acoustic guitars, bass; Lana Ritt, choir vocals; James Muldowney, Stratocaster.

I find Strange to be one of the most intriguing musical/mythical/historical explorations I’ve heard. Multiple listens take one deeper and deeper into a unique imaginative audio- world filled with the ghosts of Irish rebels, wild horses, banshees, history and mystery, all drawn together by danceable rhythms, catchy melodies and clear, poetic vocals. The images conjured stay with the listener, as do the clever questions raised by Seamus Ruttledge’s lyrics. Strange is one wonderful trip, indeed! I highly recommend this album.

Seamus Ruttledge has also created a fascinating audio art therapy project called Devalera’s Ireland. In a recent email, Seamus says, “The title DeValera’s Ireland is used as a prism to view the dark times of religious institutions - and to air the stilled voices from that time - through a purely artistic form of poetry and song. This project is mainly made of my own poems and songs with contributions from others. it’s a kind of an audio art installation.” DeValera’s Ireland was recorded, arranged, and produced by Tuam- based songwriter Padraig Stevens.

Seamus Ruttledge may be contacted directly via email:

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