Homegrown talent to display talents at Salem Civic Center on September 17


Photo by Mark Maryanovich
Salem native Adam Rutledge is an acclaimed Country Rock singer and songwriter. Performing in front of the city that helped raise him is something that he always looks forward to, and he will get that opportunity next Thursday.

Shawn Nowlin

Adam Rutledge is a believer in following one’s dreams; he has followed his own from the City of Salem to Nashville, Tennessee. Today, he is a successful Country Rock songwriter and singer with several acclaimed projects to his credit. Rutledge knew early on that he wanted to pursue music. One of his earliest memories is eating at Showbiz Pizza with his family and seeing a house band perform live with animated animals.

Photo by Mark Maryanovich
Rutledge says that COVID-19 has forced him to produce, engineer, mix and master his own music.

As a teenager, basketball and music occupied a significant chunk of Rutledge’s time. “I played hoops from the moment I was old enough to participate in the Salem Recreation system. I continued basketball through Andrew Lewis Middle School and Salem High School where we won the state championship during my senior year,” he said.

Long before he graduated with a degree from Roanoke College, Rutledge knew he wanted to be a fulltime musician. Every song that’s ever been created, he notes, was done with the purpose of connecting with people. The first song Rutledge wrote was for his church choir. “I was eight, and it was for a solo. I’m pretty sure it was just some words from a bible verse to a particular melody similar to a hymn that we sang,” he jokingly said.

Rutledge’s latest single “Unwind” was inspired by his wife. As he put it, “Part of her job is HR and she came home from a particularly rough day at work right when COVID-19 was getting crazy. I could see on her face that she was fried. So I did my best to comfort and help her relax. Help her unwind.”

Known for putting on high-energy shows, Rutledge has shared the stage with such notable musicians as Tyler Farr, Phil Vassar, Chase Rice, Lauren Alaina, Russell Dickerson, Drake White, Brothers Osborne, Old Dominion and Chris Janson, among many others. The Salem community has supported Rutledge since day one. Every time he performs locally, many friends and family are always in attendance.

“I’ve always felt safe, loved and supported by the city.  From playing sports to playing music, they’ve always had my back. Some of the best times of my life took place in Salem.  I met my wife in high school and we now have three children,” Rutledge said. “Salem means everything to me.  ‘I’m Salem born and Salem bread and when I die I’ll be Salem dead.’”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Rutledge to produce, engineer, mix and master his own music. He and Jeff Smith did the majority of the songs on his upcoming album, “Don’t Stop.” When Rutledge performs a drive-in style concert in the parking lot of the Salem Civic Center on September 17 with special guest Jeff Smith, he will be performing the usual fan favorites and some new songs.

Rutledge’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and many other platforms. Managed by Phil Vassar and Amy Millslagle of i81 Entertainment, he has over 4,400 followers on Twitter, 16K followers on Instagram and over 16K likes on Facebook.