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Queen Street Lost by Justin Rutledge

Album: EastReleased: 2016
  • This acoustic ditty ends the Canadian singer and songwriter's seventh solo album, East.

    It was written by Toronto-based country singer "Colonel" Tom Parker, formerly of the band The Backstabbers. When Rutledge was in his early 20s, he would see the country string group play gigs at numerous venues and clubs in the city. When we interviewed Rutledge in 2016, he explained how he has always related to this tune. "I used to go see them and that song always resonated with me even back in my 20s because I grew up in Toronto and even back 10 years ago I could see it changing," he said. "It's a song about someone who really can't see themselves in their surroundings anymore. When you begin to become invisible in a city or place and you don't see yourself reflected in your surroundings anymore, that's when you know it's time for a change. So that song's always resonated with me in the sense that it illustrated exactly what I was going through at the time. Toronto, I wasn't getting anything from the city and it wasn't giving me anything so it was time for a change."

    Tired of hearing himself say that he always wanted to live in the country, Rutledge made an impulsive decision and moved from the city he had resided his entire life to live on the lake in Prince Edward County. "I was coming out of a bad relationship and a pretty unhealthy one," Rutledge said. "I almost wanted to get rid of everything surrounding it, so I just sold the house. I went that far to say, 'I don't really want any memories around of that because I was a different person then.' I've quit drinking since and there was just a lot of change in the air."
  • Queen Street is one of the trendiest strips in Toronto. It is home to renowned music venues such as The Cameron House and Horseshoe Tavern, both of which Rutledge used to play frequently early in his career.

    The last verse and chorus of this song display the character feeling misplaced in his current surroundings:

    I wish I could remember all the places I have been
    The people I have talked to and the dreams I used to dream
    But there's nothing left to remind me of the way I used to be
    Just a tired man looking at himself in a window from the street

    Queen Street lost
    You see that face there in the window
    Looks like a guy I've seen before
    He looks like somebody I used to know
    Don't recognize him anymore
    Queen Street lost
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