Things have been moving nicely for Deric Ruttan since his last album, 2013’s Take the Week Off (Black T Records/Universal Music Canada).
In part that’s because Ruttan rarely takes time off and even less so recently. “Over the last couple of years I’ve tried to double down and write more songs while still maintaining the quality I want.” It’s fair to say that’s paid off and provided the Nashville-based, Bracebridge, Ontario born singer/songwriter with a lot to celebrate in 2016.
First off, Ruttan’s cut for Blake Shelton, the lead single from Shelton’s current record, If I’m Honest, ‘Came Here To Forget’ (co-written with Craig Wiseman), hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard/Mediabase Country Airplay Chart in May. It’s Ruttan’s second #1 with Shelton, following ‘Mine Would Be You,’ which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Song and an ACM for Song of the Year in 2014.
Ruttan’s songs are in high demand in both Canada and the US. Between mid-April and mid-May 2016, he’s landed 5 major label cuts. Recently, Canadian Country Star, Tim Hicks, and US-based artists Justin Moore (winner of the 2014 ACM New Artist of the Year Award), superstar Jason Aldean, and up-and-comer Tucker Beathard have recorded Ruttan’s songs for upcoming records.
There’s a catch, however, in that the song Moore chose was to be the lead single for Ruttan’s upcoming Fall 2016 EP. “But that’s a great problem to have,” he says, laughing. “It could have been the song to anchor my record, but I think it’s perfect for Justin Moore.”
Over time Ruttan’s songs have been recorded by dozens of artists including Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Gary Allan and Jason Blaine. Two of Ruttan’s co-writes for Bentley became international hits; ‘What Was I Thinkin’ reaching #1 on the Billboard and R&R charts, and ‘Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do’ hitting #2 on the R&R chart.
As a recording artist in his own right, Ruttan has had 11 Top 10 singles on the BDS/Mediabase country charts in Canada. His 2003 debut single, ‘When You Come Around,’ was one of the ‘Top 10 Played Songs of the Decade’ (2000-2009) at Canadian Country radio. And Take The Week Off’s title track was the #1 Most Added Song in Canada during it’s first week of release in 2013.
In all, Ruttan has received 6 ASCAP Awards and 14 SOCAN Awards, including three consecutive wins for Song Of The Year (indicating that three different tracks were the Most Played Canadian Country songs in 2009, 2010 and 2011). He is also a two-time CCMA Award winner, five-time CMAO Award winner (3 for Songwriter of the Year), and has been nominated for multiple CCMA Awards as well the 2010 JUNO for Country Album of the Year for Sunshine.
Ruttan’s success is due to far more than his work ethic, however; it’s also a product of his relentless dedication to the craft of songwriting and his knack for writing highly visual lyrics and providing listeners with emotional touchstones that are instantly and universally relatable.
That’s a hallmark of songs recorded by others, like ‘Came Here To Forget,’ as well as more personal tracks Ruttan has recorded himself, notably Mainstreet 1979; a tune that literally plays out as if Ruttan’s laying a series of photos from the family album for his audience and has often prompted fans to say, ‘I know you wrote that about your hometown, but I think it’s really about mine.’
As for ‘Came Here To Forget,’ Shelton’s camp didn’t mention it was to be a single until after playing Ruttan the final recording, Ruttan says: “Scott Hendricks, Blake’s producer, called and said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Just sitting here writing.’ He said, ‘Well, when you’re done, come over. I want to play you something.’”
“That was the end of my work day,” Ruttan continues, laughing again. “I went over, listened to the mix and gave it well-deserved compliments. Then, completely out of the blue, Scott said, ‘Congratulations you’ve got the new Blake Shelton single.’ 13 weeks later it was #1 on the Billboard/Mediabase Country charts in America.”
“It’s hard to express in words how thankful and blessed I feel right now,” Deric Ruttan adds. “It’s a privilege to wake up every day and have the opportunity to make music in this town, surrounded by such world class talent.”
-written by Kevin Young