Ruby Boots Live

Read our story on Ruby Boots – live and on record

photo Jim Jacob

 

By Jim Jacob

 

 

 

and Rob Dickens

 

 

 

 

Australian-born and now a resident in Nashville TN, Ruby Boots (Bex Chilcott) has this year released Don’t Talk About It (Bloodshot Records).  The new album is a rocking affair, jangly and sharp, drawing on the wide-open landscapes of her homeland as well as the songwriter inner circle of Music City Nashville.

Boots has plenty of life experiences to call upon to craft some insightful echoes of her own life and the issues of the day.  It is a collection of songs about hope, perseverance and confronting ghosts.  In 2016, Ruby met with Lone Star state-bred studio wizards The Texas Gentlemen and the album’s eventual producer Beau Bedford.  The group had stopped off in Nashville on their way to back Kris Kristofferson at the Newport Folk Festival and they got on like a house on fire.  The collective pulled a handful of songs from the forty tunes she had waiting and began recording at their Dallas-based studio Modern Electric Sound Recorders.   The Texas Gentlemen put in a blistering set at The Filming Station at the Americana Music Festival and Conference last year and they provide some fervent grunt on Don’t Talk About It.  Another important contribution was from songstress Nikki Lane both through co-writes and backing vocals.

Boots has returned to Australia to promote the album and catch up with old friends.  Part of the itinerary was a long-planned in-store at Basement Discs record outlet in the heart of Melbourne.  For this performance, Boots was a little hamstrung by jet lag (only frequent flyers doing the long haul between the American and Australian continents know what that’s like) and armed only with an acoustic guitar to replicate the many layers and fuzzy guitars embellishing the new songs on the record.  Not to fear.  The days’ five-song taster gave us plenty of evidence of the strength of the new material and further proof of her powerful and nuanced vocals.

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We were treated to the following new songs.

“I’ll Make It Through” (one of the Lane co-writes) which showcased her vocal range.

“It’s So Cruel” which bemoans the treacherous and deceitful lies sometimes told – eg “I’m Not Married” leading to an adulterous relationship destined to fail and the subsequent heartbreak fallout.

The emotional and towering a capella of “I Am A Woman” with lines like  “I am a believer / Standing strong by your side / I’m the hand to hold onto / When it’s too hard to try… I am a woman / Do you know what that means / You lay it all on the line / When you lay down with me.”:

Further thoughts on the song from Chilcott:

“was conjured up amid recent events where men have spoken about, and treated women’s bodies, the way no man, or woman, should. This kind of treatment toward another human being makes every nerve in my body scream. These kinds of incidents are so ingrained in our culture and are swept under the carpet at every turn—it needs to change. As tempting as it was to just write an angry tirade I wanted to respond with integrity, so I sat with my feelings and this song emerged as a celebration of women and womanhood, of our strength and our vulnerability, all we encompass and our inner beauty, countering ignorance and vulgarity with honesty and pride and without being exclusionary to any man or woman. My hope is that we come together on this long drawn out journey. The song is the backbone to the album for me.”

The title track “Don’t Talk About It” which vividly captures the threats of stalking.

The new album by Ruby Boots is defiant and reflects a fighting spirit that we all can respect.  The cameo showcase was a little taste but incontrovertible proof of this talented performer.  It is good to have her back on these shores, albeit for a glimpse.

Thanks to Basement Discs for providing more musical nourishment for our Friday lunch-times.

 

Ruby Boots Tour Dates

 

photo Jim Jacob

 

Read our story on Ruby Boots – live and on record

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Author: Rob Dickens

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