Justin Rutledge's fifth studio album, Valleyheart, will be released by Outside Music. The quiet songwriter returns to his roots with a stately collection of spacious songs featuring Rutledge's trademark poetic lyrics. "I wanted to write songs the way I look at old photographs," the singer says. "Valleyheart is, at the core, an album about translating memory." The album is spare in its arrangements, and at times, achingly slow. "At this point in my career, I understand that my strength lies in writing songs that don't exceed the speed limit," jokes Rutledge. "I have never been more comfortable with my writing." Valleyheart was recorded in Toronto with Rutledge's veteran backing band, featuring his best friend Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) on bass, and mixed in Los Angeles by Dan Burns (Puscifer, Chuck Prophet). Rutledge has increasingly been spending more time in California, writing and recording with his band, Early Winters. "Travel is a major theme on Valleyheart," says Rutledge. "It is perhaps my most 'Canadian' album to date, even though it is heavily influenced by California."