INSPIRED BY MANITOBA STREET.
Country music singer and Bracebridge native Deric Ruttan says his newly released single Main Street, 1979 was inspired by his memories of downtown Manitoba Street. The song has gone on to earn top spots in Canadian and American music charts, and is one of the most played songs on many Canadian radio stations.
BRACEBRIDGE - A country music hit sweeping radio stations across Canada has its roots on downtown Bracebridge’s main street.
Speaking to this newspaper on May 16, Canadian country music singer Deric Ruttan says the inspiration for his new single Main Street, 1979 came from by his own childhood experiences on Manitoba Street. Though the Bracebridge native did not initially intend to release the song commercially, it has earned top spots on American and Canadian music charts since its release in March, and has gone on to become one of the most played songs on a large number of Canadian radio stations.
“The week that it came out, it was the number one most added country song … just a bunch of stations jumped on it and started playing it like crazy, more than I had anticipated,” said Ruttan. “It’s unusual for a country song to be added that much.”
Though Ruttan left Bracebridge years ago to pursue his singing career in Nashville, his hometown has never left his heart. Main Street, 1979 documents many snapshots of life on Manitoba Street in the late 1970s.
“I went to my first movies there at the Norwood Theatre, I went to the KFC at the end of main street, which is in the song, my aunt actually worked at that KFC in the late 1970s around the time that the song takes place,” he said. “In the second verse, I talk about ‘past the park.’ That’s the park there in Bracebridge past the Norwood Theatre.”
The song also sparks recollections of Ecclestone’s Home Hardware, which used to be located across the street from where Shoppers Drug Mart now sits.
“People who have lived in Bracebridge for 20 or 30 years will know what I’m talking about,” he chuckled.
As a budding young musician, Ruttan bought his first record at a store on Manitoba Street, and played his first gig with a band at the South Muskoka Curling and Golf Club.
Ruttan says the reason he thinks Main Street, 1979 has resonated so well with listeners both inside and outside of the country music scene is because of the honest, heartfelt and personal themes it reflects.
The closing verse of the song makes reference to his personal connection to a lumberyard at the foot of Manitoba Street, which is now the Bracebridge Tim-Br Mart.
“Both my grandfathers are really reflected in that verse, because one worked at (the yard) … and my other grandfather on my mom’s side was a building contractor,” he said. “I was sort of picturing him there loading lumber onto a flatbed truck, like it says in the song.”
The release of an official music video for the song has garnered enthusiastic responses from Bracebridge residents both past and present on YouTube and Twitter.
“If you scroll down through the comments, there are several people who are like ‘I’m from Bracebridge!’” said Ruttan.
Ruttan’s roots in Muskoka go back to the early 20th century. His grandfather Milton Ruttan was a co-founder of the Bracebridge Legion’s pipes and drum band. Many other songs on his latest album Up all Night are also inspired by his childhood in Bracebridge.
Though nothing’s set in stone, Ruttan says he looks forward to the day he can play Main Street, 1979 in his hometown. Thanking his friends, family members and Bracebridge residents for their support over the years, he also recently learned that he will perform in this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards in September.
“It hasn’t been decided yet what song I’m going to play, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Main Street, 1979,” he said. “There are a lot of people pulling for that song.”