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Jack Rutter Jack Rutter
Album: Hills
Label: Horus
Tracks: 11

I'd had this album kicking around my stereo for a couple of weeks, when I had a call asking if I wanted to join York based trio Stillhouse on the Boomtown and Broadstairs leg of their tour. Yes. Rucksack and beers packed and collected this CD from the stereo on my way out the door.

Hurtling through the last of Yorkshire and into the midlands, we just kept this CD spinning. Double bass strapped to the roof, mandolins, guitars and limbs seat-belted for dear life. This album was thread that stitched our trip together.

We kept it playing simply because this album is an essence of home. When you come across music of quality, home can be anywhere, it carries the illusive heart pang of home. Don't matter where you're from.

It continued to play on the battered car stereo between home, apocalyptic festival wasteland to the wholesomeness of Broadstairs. Through counties nameless, much like the ether of the songs, we headed. It seemed the optimum way to experience such an album. But in such context, it's effect isn't reserved.

You can sit in the knowingness of home or be moving. There is a beauty in this album's honesty that can tug at the very quiet struts of a soul, if you allow it. The Deserter is a song for midnight.

An album full of cast iron, winters on the chin and a long-lost friend. As we reached Folkstone the coincidence of invigorating tones of Rutter's guitar playing and our proximity to Alistair Atkin's workshop did not pass me by.

The Banks of Sweet Dundee is the version to follow. It's a solid oak and a fallow in song, a fired theatre that touches every depth that a song should. It moves out of folk into myth and is as unsettled, beautiful and defiant as young Mary. Like any good story telling it cuts through time. The delicacies of Rutter's at time trusty rough vocals make him like a man making a case in court. As if he'd seen every action hidden in the shadows when younger. Have a whiskey and this song can become Shakespearean.

Hatton Woods is one of those songs that feel like you can set your compass to. In moments it makes you stand up-straight with pride then lower with lament. There is a little Nic Jones in this. But for the talk of this being like a "classic folk album" of old, its not. It's a folk album of now. I don't think there's a better compliment I can give.

This isn't penguin eggs, as some have said. Calling something a classic when its fresh always seems a little lazy to me. Foolish to compare things across such an arch of time. This album will earn its deserved status due to its quality, not any verdicts given, and deservedly so. It lives outside of such pomp and ceremony. It's crux of passion, integrity and skilful musical ability is girded by a seemingly unwavering sense of direction.

It might not be the right album for all. But it's the right album for all at the right time. I implore you to listen to it. You'll be richer for it.

Alex Golisti