Cranbrook’s Dawson Rutledge recently performed at The Loaf, and will be returning again at the Wapiti Music Festival in August. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Cranbrook artist to attend Wapiti

For the first time, Dawson Rutledge will be stepping onto the Wapiti stage, this August

Cranbrook’s Dawson Rutledge will be performing at Wapiti this year, much to the excitement of the 19-year-old musician.

Rutledge picked up the guitar 10 years ago, and hasn’t looked back.

In 2015, the singer-songwriter was recognized for his talent, when he graduated Mt. Baker Secondary School with the title of ‘Top Male Musician’. Rutledge was grateful for this title, and it reaffirmed that he was on the right path.

During school, any free time he had was spent in the music room. His first live performance was during the last semester of his graduating year.

Straight out of school, Rutledge was performing. His unique voice combined with his acoustic guitar has gained him a dedicated fanbase of 2,000. Despite not going to school to study music, Rutledge has not been denied entry into any recording studios. As of the beginning of May, the Canadian was in New York City recording a new album.

“I’m happy performing and growing my audience, it seems to be going really well for me,” he said.

Rutledge claims he has not tried to make his voice sound unique, but says he has been singing from a young age, and has had time to develop it.

He is not strictly a solo artist either, he often plays with drummer Julian Bueckert and bassist Angus Liedcke.

Rutledge scored his recording session through an emerging artist festival in Mesa, Arizona, four months after he graduated high school. The company which put on the festival was based in New Jersey, and took a liking to young Rutledge. A head of the production company had ties in New York, and after spending some time with Rutledge in Jersey Shore, encouraged him to send a demo of his work to his source in New York. Rutledge leapt at this opportunity.

“One thing led to another, and here I am in New York,” said Rutledge.

To date, Rutledge has self-produced and released one album, titled Today, tonight, tomorrow. Half of this album was recorded in his school. The last half was produced in his basement.

Asked about recording only one album, straight to recording in New York, Rutledge said, “It’s kind of a big step for me, going from home-studio to a professional studio in New York, but it’s really cool.”

There is no official release date for Rutledge’s album which he is currently recording.

For the first time, Rutledge will be performing at the Wapiti Music Festival in Fernie this coming August, and is excited to play along side some of his idols including Tokyo Police Club and Scenic Route To Alaska.

A goal for Rutledge is to tour consistently, and hopes to one day make it to Lincoln Hall in Chicago or The Commodore in Vancouver.

“If I ever make it to those places, that would be fantastic,” he said. “But there’s really no end goal, I’m just hoping to release music and see what happens.”