Luke Blu Guthrie is learning to embrace imperfection.
And the local singer/songwriter admitted not striving for absolute perfection gives him an interesting authenticity on his latest release, Routes & Blu.
“This record was made in about three days, the vocals, guitar and bass were cut live. There’s certain limitations imposed with budgets and time restrictions that make sure your craft is truly honed,” said Guthrie.
“Am I a perfectionist by nature? No — but I wish I was,” he added with a slight grin.
Cumberland’s Corwin Fox engineered the album, which Guthrie explained was the perfect fit.
“He’s very open-minded, and makes music for the joy of it; he’s not trying to make it commercial and he’s willing to try different things,” said the Comox Valley-raised musician.
Jim Guthrie (no relation) adds standup bass, local music teacher and singer Jenn Forsland adds vocals and Anela Kahiamoe also contributes to the album with electric bass.
Guthrie noted the disc has “a bit of continuation socially,” from his self-titled debut release, but added the compositions on Routes & Blu have matured.
“There’s a lot of lessons to be learned, but (the disc) still maintains a bit of roughness. I really wanted to follow my instinct, and locally, it’s been really successful,” he said. “It validates my instinct on what people are willing to put money on.”
Guthrie explained having success at a local level along with creating music without the constraints of a major record label allows him to explore his creativity and craft.
“I’m really felling quite grateful that I don’t have to answer to anyone, and that it’s been working; I can maintain my core values,” he noted.
He said the songs on Routes & Blu came about in a variety of ways, with some having strong social motivations.
Guthrie explained that Tough Getting Up was written following a meeting last year at the Filberg Centre, which he attended for information and action for the proposed Raven Underground Coal Mine.
“A woman turned around who was sitting ahead of me and recognized me as a musician. She told me, ‘You’ve got to do something about this,’ ” he said.
Guthrie used his songwriting ability to create lyrics such as, “It’s tough getting up/when you’re being held down.”
The track Canadian Clearly may seem on the surface to be “a nice Canadian tune,” explained Guthrie, but said the song blends his love for the country while recognizing the confused nature of our culture.
During a visit to the southern United States to visit his family this fall, Guthrie noted the trip allowed him to think about his own background and how values get distorted.
“Although most of the tunes were written before the trip, it definitely affected the overall tone,” he said. “With the album, I want to catch people on a primal level — a heartbeat with rhythm and blues — with the theme of being locally grown and harvested.”
Following local success, particularly on the heels of a Songwriter of the Year nomination by the Vancouver Island Music Awards, Guthrie admitted his next step is breaking through the larger music scene within the province and country.
“I’m trying to step out from the south coast and establish myself as an independent Canadian artist. It’s about paying dues, compromises and sacrifices; it’s all part of the game,” he said.
Although Guthrie noted it has been a struggle, he said his local success is what makes creating music worthwhile.
“As easy as it is to get discouraged, I already feel very successful. In many way, many of my dreams of doing what I do have come to be. I’m not really interested in being a rock star,” he added.
Routes & Blu is available for purchase at Bob City in Courtenay and is also available on itunes. Guthrie is hosting a CD release show at the Flying Canoe West Coast Pub in Courtenay on March 31 with special guests. For more information, visit www.lukebluguthrie.com.