Canadian will play Americana at P-2’s Friday

American-blues artist Rob Lutes will perform at P-2’s in Tupper Lake Friday. (Photo provided — Susan Moss)

If you go…

What: Americana, blues music by Rob Lutes

Where: P-2’s Irish Pub, 31 Main St, Tupper Lake,

When: 8 p.m. Friday

How much: Free

TUPPER LAKE — Rob Lutes said he “caught the music bug” fairly young, and he yearned for something bigger than his hometown Rothesay, Canada.

Growing up in New Brunswick, he felt a little cut off from the rest of the world. Not that anything was particularly negative or isolating, but there’s a reason why some refer to New Brunswick as “the drive-through province.” He didn’t really watch a lot of TV, and the internet wasn’t a thing at the time, but he loved listening to music on the radio. He called it a conduit to everything else.

“I would listen to the radio for hours,” he said, “and dream about this whole other world out there.”

The American-blues artist will perform a free show at P-2’s Irish Pub at 8 p.m. Friday.

Americana is a rather vague genre combining elements from blues, rock and roll, country, folk and R&B. Lutes called the name an “unfortunate label,” seeing as how many popular Americana artist are actually from Canada just like him. Neil Young is from Toronto, Joni Mitchell is from Fort Macleod and every member of The Band besides Levon Helm is from the Great White North. Lutes and his fellow musicians sometimes use the term “Canandiana” instead.

The Kerrville New Folk award winner sings with a slightly raspy voice similar to John Hiatt or Joe Cocker. It’s not hoarse enough to the point where it sounds like it’s damaging his vocal chords, but it provides that extra emotion and roughness that’s often associated with blues and Americana music.

Songs such as “Maria” and “I still love you” offer great juxtaposition through the mix of somber lyrics and plucky finger-styling.

Despite playing predominantly blues music, Lutes said he likes to listen to and draw inspiration from all types of genres. Lately he’s been listening to what his son likes, artist such as EDM giant Skrillex and rappers Eminem, Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

“I like Kendrick Lamar because he is one of the few modern artist who addresses the blues,” Lutes said. “When you strip down most music you’re left with the blues.”

The titular song of his latest album, “Walk in the Dark” was improvised during a sound check, he said. As he was laying down a few chords, he thought of the words “what is life but a walk in the dark.” Lutes says he depends heavily on these flashes of inspiration when it comes to writing lyrics.

The words were inspired by times when he was a young man and he and his friends would go to parties with plenty of drinks and people. The parties would always have a high intensity, but they were followed by a long and quiet walk home in the dark.

“It goes along with the idea that we don’t know where we’re going,” Lutes said.