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SALT LAKE CITY — After high school, Salt Lake City musician Jack Rutter found himself at a crossroads. His bandmates were all headed off on church missions, and suddenly he was a man without a band. So, he decided to keep making music on his own, calling the one-man band “Ritt Momney.”
"It was definitely scarier, which is why I kept marketing it as more of a band and less of a solo project," Rutter said. "But (it was) definitely more freeing. No matter how good the musicians I’ve worked with have been — and they’ve all been very talented — I’ve always had the most fun making music alone in my room."
Though the band name is a play on Utah’s newest senator, Rutter said he’s never met Mitt Romney.
"My girlfriend knew some guy who was friends with his grandkids or something,” Rutter said. “The guy said they 'didn’t like the name,' I think. But like, OK."
If Romney were to check out his quasi-namesake, he’d discover a band that vacillates between softhearted piano ballads, Bon Iver-esque vocoder musings, and guitar-and-drum-machine dreaminess.
Rutter describes his first album, "Her and All of My Friends," as lyric-focused bedroom pop. Though it is filled with heart-on-sleeve lyrics, there is one track in particular that Rutter is most proud of.
"If the Book Doesn’t Sell" chronicles Rutter’s wrestles with faith.
"I hope it can help start conversations between family members, because feeling, like, I couldn’t talk with my family and friends about what I believed was definitely the worst part of the whole thing."
Since releasing the album, Rutter has toured extensively — at one point playing 22 shows across the country in just 25 days.
"It was exhausting, but definitely the coolest experience I’ve ever had," he said.
Up until this point, Rutter has played all his shows with a backing band: Jonas Torgersen, Noah Hamula and Sam Olson. But now that he’s moved to Los Angeles, he’s ready to try something new.
"Going forward, at least for a while, I’m gonna be playing the live shows solo," he said. "Lots of looping and drum machines. It’ll be kinda like I’m just making songs in my room, but I’m on a stage and people are watching me. I’m really, really excited to try it out."
Thanks to the album and the touring, Rutter has amassed a huge following — averaging nearly 200,000 Spotify listeners each month. He’s currently working on new material, which may take him in a new direction.
"I think I was too safe with the last album," he said. "I’ve been trying some more ‘out there’ ideas now, mostly sonically. My lyrical style has mostly stayed the same, I don’t think I could change that even if I wanted to."
For updates on the band, follow Ritt Momney on Instagram.