With rave reviews of her latest release Solitude circulating across the nation – Bex Chilcott (AKA ‘Ruby Boots’) is as excited as ever to be delivering her bold and raucous performances in the state where it all started!
Ahead of her gig in the main room next Friday, we caught up with the firey songstress to talk musical nomadism, collaborating with The Waifs’ Vikki Thorn and being signed to Lost Highway Records.
Rosie: The recording and production of this record has travelled with you across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Spain and Utah. It’s common for artists to travel and draw from these experiences for song writing – but to record across 3 continents is quite a feat! Would you say the nomadic life is in your blood?
Ruby: I think we are shaped by our experiences and the way we view them. There is one thing in life that I see we are in control of and that’s our beliefs – that’s it. I believe my nomadic life is mostly a means to an end, but I also believe that it was given to me at a much younger age, early enough for me to have had enough practice with it so that I can fall back into at a later age easily enough – it’s been coursing though my blood for a very long time.
Rosie: How does it feel to have been recently signed to the Australian arm of Nashville based Lost Highway Records?
Ruby: It feels f*cking amazing. The folks at the label are a great bunch of people who are super passionate about the kind of music I make and Lost Highway is a dream label to be a part of. It’s really surreal, especially as seemingly no one actually buys all that much music anymore hahah! It’s a real testament to the label guys for starting it up in Australia and signing on emerging artists, they have their hearts in what they are doing, which is refreshing.
Rosie: What sparked your love affair with Nashville and what is it about the city which keeps reeling you back in?
Ruby: It’s everything about it – But to be honest it’s mainly those cowboys with that damn delightful drawl hahah! Seriously though, Nashville has grown so much just in the short space of two or three years that I have been visiting and it’s still expanding in population really swiftly, but the history there, you can feel it in the air and see it standing next to you in the sandwich aisle. It’s really not that big of a city and is basically like a big small town, which I love because big cities have always freaked me out.
It’s cheap and it’s fun, plus it’s a very central place to tour from. It has everything you need if you ask me. Some of my favourite places in the world are in Nashville – I love being able to go and see some of my heroes play down at Roberts any night of the week, or sit in my favourite dive bar Mickey’s and drink my favourite local whiskey neat and listen to George Jones, or sing country Karaoke at Santa’s Pub – it’s everything about that city that makes my heart swell.
Rosie: You’ve spoken before of earlier days working as a deckhand in pearling, listening to The Waifs’ Sink or Swim and how seminal this period was in envisioning your sound. How does it feel to now have collaborated with Vikki Thorn and what did this dynamic bring to your latest release ‘Solitude’?
Ruby: I think that Waifs album played more of the part where I was inspired to write my owns songs as opposed to shaping my own sound. The idea that I was heading out to Utah to write with Vik certainly took some getting used to at first, mostly because writing with her meant more than writing with anyone else that I could have been sitting at that time, so it felt like a big deal. Sometimes writing with someone can mean a few hours together and having a crack at writing a song, but for us it meant a friendship and many a song. She was there for me in the lead up to recording the album when I had a million questions running through my head, and she’d question my questions which would open up more brainstorming. This was paramount for me as it helped to flesh out everything that I could do with the record before actually recording it. Then of course there were the songs we wrote which speak for themselves.
Rosie: Can you let us in on what else is on the horizon for Ruby Boots?
Ruby: I am really just focusing on the album tour right now – that starts next week so there is enough to keep me occupied and then some! Plenty going on in second half of the year but nothing I can spill the beans on yet I am afraid!
Ruby: After all the lead up and prep to the album, I can’t describe how excited I am about finally playing my own home town. I haven’t put my own show on in Perth since June last year and all the bands on the night are dear friends of mine whose music I admire, so I am feeling very lucky!