RUBY BOOTS @ Mojos gets 8/10

Ruby Boots

RUBY BOOTS @ Mojos Bar
w/ Lucy Peach, Davey Craddock
Thursday, April 27, 2017

8/10

Ruby Boots aka Bex Chilcott has been part of the Perth music scene for many years. When she wasn’t playing gigs herself, she was hosting them and supporting local artists, building the scene with several open mic nights.

Chilcott’s songwriting talents, soaring voice and passionate performance have taken her to the national stage, and in recent years she’s had a well-earned break, winning the esteemed Australia Council Songwriting Residency, relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, and has been touring the USA where her country-flavoured tunes go down a treat.

It seems the States have fallen in love with Ruby and vice versa, and she’s had amazing experiences, gained inspiration and found opportunities to share the stage with such legends as Kris Kristofferson, Father John Misty, Justin Townes Earle and even Kevin Bacon. With her second album, recorded in Texas, coming out soon, Ruby was back in Australia on a whirlwind tour that saw her swing by Mojos for a sold-out show, to give us a sneak-peak of the new material, before she jets off to Europe for a string of dates. And it was a lovingly assembled local lineup of like-minded friends and special guests.

An old friend of Chilcott’s, Davey Craddock kicked things off, a man who has also toured the States with his Americana flavoured tunes. Craddock has been working on a new album too, to follow up his stellar debut City West. Joined by gun for hire, Luke Dux on lead guitar, he worked through a solid set featuring singles Better Alone and Girls Light Fires.

In between acts, spinning retro grooves and vintage records all night was Primal Vinyl aka local collector Ivan Borgnino. Up next was another talented woman who’s starting to do big things, Lucy Peach. Blessed with an exquisite voice and a lovely knack for a lilting tune, Peach charmed the crowd with her personal, introspective songs inspired by life, love, family and history. “Good evening Bex lovers,” she greeted the crowd. And indeed there was a lot of love in the room tonight, and also some pride for our Perth girl doing good overseas.

One of the first songs Peach ever wrote, The Day Of The Night, sounded as fresh as ever, boosted with some cool vocal effects. She had many tales to tell to introduce her songs, including one of a convict relative who was sent to a NSW penal colony for stealing cloth – as Peach enjoyed pointing out, risking her freedom for fashion not food.

In her long flowing floral dress, she somehow managed to be cute and charming even when telling a story about doing a poo at Freo Train Station as a kid, as an introduction to a song about her mother. She brought up Luke Dux too to add some choice lead riffery, and then finished on her “smash hit” So Good.

But tonight was all about Ms Ruby Boots. “I’m gonna play some old (and) some new songs,” she said as she took the stage, looking the part in her pink satin 50s-style jacket, short black dress and sparkling boots. Starting with new song called Don’t Talk About It, you could see and hear that the time overseas has put even more polish on her already world-class songs. She played a song written with rising South Carolina star Nicki Lane, and got Lucy Peach back up for another new track I’ll Make It Through. “Between my shoes and your dress, it’s all over,” joked Chilcott. While the two looked great together onstage, their two voices combined even better to provide some beautiful harmonies.

Ruby Boots 2

Next up, she invited Belle Harvey onstage to play double bass on one of her biggest tunes Middle of Nowhere, the announcement of which raised cheers. “You don’t get that in Nashville!” said Chilcott. Some more crowd participation was in order for a big singalong to Wrap Me In A Fever, getting Chilcott all emotional as she was obviously enjoying playing for the home crowd.

She swapped the acoustic for a lovely butterscotch Fender Telecaster to show off her more rocky side on a couple numbers, before name dropping Bill Murray in introduction of her next song, as she told the story of an another amazing star encounter, where she met the legend at an airport while on tour with Nicki Lane – the three spent time hanging out, having lunch and as per a certain viral photo, the two used Murray as a ‘billow’ to rest their heads on the plane. Chilcott explained Murray inspired the next song with some typically sage wisdom he imparted, stating that if you take someone around the world on a trip and at the end you still really love them – marry them.

Putting down the guitar, Chilcott delivered a touching highlight with an a cappella song with a feminist message inspired by the sad state of affairs in Trump’s America; highlighting the power and passion of her impressive voice. She was joined by another special guest in Abbe May, who stepped up to deliver a couple tunes alongside Ruby – including a great cover of K.D. Lang’s classic Constant Craving, before picking up the electric for a “double fuzz” attack.

As final guest of the night, Craddock returned to the stage for a beautiful duet of the Townes Van Zandt song If I Needed You, famously covered by Emmylou Harris and Don Williams. Twas a great night of fine music featuring a jam-packed all-star local lineup. Ruby will be back with a full band to tour the new album in October, and that will be something to look forward to indeed. Til then, Ruby’s boots were made for walking.

ALFRED GORMAN

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