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Ruby Boots Scoot and Boogie @ The Basement East

posted by Charles Bridgers IV November 29, 2018 0 comments
Ruby Boots at the Basement Wast. Photo: Charles Bridgers IV

I would like to introduce Charles Bridgers IV, the newest member of the Fighting the Nashville Blues team. He will be one of the folks who serve as my eyes and ears in Nashville when I find myself elsewhere. Please enjoy his article from a recent Ruby Boots show at the BEAST. Welcome him and share your thoughts in the comments. Rock on.

Jared Godar

“I have a vagina!”

Anonymous

You know you’re at a rock show when someone screams that out between songs prompting hoots and uproarious applause!

You know the show is in Nashville when you see that blend of hipsters and rhinestone cowboy tourists unique to Downtown Music City. The people in their forties clad in Nirvana shirts and the denim and the patches and the denim and the patches and the denim and the patches and—you get the point.

Last Sunday Ruby Boots and her five-piece rock band returned to Nashville, their home away from home, after a regional tour in support her Bloodshot Records label debut album Don’t Talk About It. Half of the band is from Canada, and the other half is from Australia. The Australian accent is strong with Bex Chilcott, aka Ruby Boots ,who sounds like she’s recording a VH1 documentary.

Ruby Boots Don’t Talk About It

When the music starts, the Nashville comes out of her. Ruby and her band bring the country stomp from Australia to the colonies and beyond. While the twang is unmistakable, you can also hear tinges of alternative rock and a speck of retro flavor—enough to leave you scratching your head trying to figure out what song from the sixties inspired that sound.

One of the things that makes Ruby Boots different from the rest is her love for epic squealing guitar solos; a lost art frowned upon in a world of three-minute disposable pop songs. Her guitarists thrive in manipulating frequencies to add pleasurable textures to the meat and potatoes of the song structure.

Her denim-clad string warriors strut across stage along with her, while the bassist grooves and the drummer keeps that beat we all need so much. The lights shift color,swinging along with the mood and musical shifts provided by Sunday night’s entertainment.

One of the most melodically surprising songs of the evening was“Don’t Talk About It,” a rocking love song with a delicious “doo wop” vibe that was increasingly infectious as the band glided through it.

Ruby Boots “Don’t Talk About It”

How do you follow set like that? With a show-stopping tune that was the highlight of the night.

The band exited the stage while Ruby remained center stage.  The lights turned purple, and sh explained the meaning behind “I am a Woman,” her female-empowerment anthem. Bex then dedicated the song to all the women out there, praising their strength and decrying all the forces trying to take them down. She declared that her gender deserves a lot more respect than they receive, which led to the aforementioned“I have a vagina!” being yelled before the song started.

Ruby had the entire Basement East under her spell as she sang her tune a cappella, providing a voice of love to the struggle against jerks who think it is okay to treat a woman any way they want, regardless of her consent.

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.

Ruby Boots

Her voice was clear and powerful, channeling the spirit of the early female country artists who carved out a place in the genre ruled by men in ten-gallon hats. Call it Dolly Parton filtered through the #meToo moment,call it whatever you want, it was the most powerful moment of the show.

After a couple of songs drenched in distorted, fuzzy rock vibes and plenty of guitar melodies surfing and soaring over powerful vocals, Ruby invited the crowds to come visit her at the merch table, offering to sign just about everything her fans could think of that would need a Sharpie pressed to it.

She mentioned a few less than normal items that had been signed on tour, ending the offer with a wink and guarantee that she “will sign anything but I won’t touch your body unless I ask because I’m that kind of girl.”

It was another unforgettable night in East Nashville, brought to you by Ruby Boots and The Basement East. 

Get your copy of Don’t Talk About It on CD, digital, or transparent orange/gold vinyl here. 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Official Website: Ruby Boots Online

I was fortunate enough to capture the first acoustic performance of this new tune. One of two potential title tracks for the upcoming album due next year.

Drivin’ N Cryin’ – Lift the Love Beautiful

The guys performed this at Cactus Records this afternoon in Houston in anticipation of their show at Under the Volcano tonight. Come on down.

Some great other shows in the coming days as well.

I am honored and excited to have the first opportunity to share Nina Ricci’s latest single with you. The inspiration for “Southern Goodbyes” comes from a special ritual when she would depart the family homestead in north Georgia for the return to Nashville. Nina’s grandmother remained on the porch waving goodbye until the taillights disappeared around the bend.

The power of that story and this song lies in how relatable it is to so many of us, independent of geography. My southern goodbyes with my Mamaw and Papaw in Mississippi were very similar to the ones described in verse here. When we left my Uncle Chuck’s place outside New Orleans, we had to drive a block in the opposite direction, make a U-turn and drive back on the other side of the neutral ground (that’s the median, for all of y’all who aren’t from New Orleans). For the entire duration of this detour, Chuck and his family remained in the driveway waving until we were on the main road.

Nina had been toying with this song concept for some time. She wrote the song this February, shortly before the March release of her debut album Designs on Me.

With the lyrics basically done and dusted, August rolled around and the composition still remained closer to a poem than a song as it hadn’t been fully set to music or arranged. Two weeks later, it was definitely a song. Nina placed sheet music in front of her band and one sight-reading session and rehearsal later, this ethereal concept that had been floating around in her head was given shape and form and came to life.

The song was recorded on September 6th at the East Nashville studio of fellow Berklee alumnus Marc Lacuesta. Marc actually coached and trained Nina for her Berklee audition, so it came full circle when he engineered this single. (Marc is also a great friend of FTNB and has very comfortable trees.)

Nina’s father was songwriter Robert James “Bob” Ricci and she enjoyed exposure to music ranging from Greenwich Village folksingers to the Beach Boys to the Beatles preceding her earliest memories. This unique musical incubation simmered in the background as Nina grew up. She took a few piano lessons and a bit of music theory here and there, but neither captured her interest. 

This changed when 14-year-old Ricci picked up and fell in musical love with her Dad’s Alvarez guitar. Her aspirations rapidly transitioned from a Brian May-style guitarist, to lead singer, to a songwriter. After formal training in performance, theory, a bit of engineering, and music business at Berklee, she returned to Nashville in 2015 on a mission. Her driven efforts and constant support of mother/manager/partner-in-crime Teresa Ricci are paying off. Through talent, ambition, and sheer force of will she has written and recorded her debut album, performs around Nashville, and now adds this song to her catalog.

Without any further adieu, FTNB humbly presents “Southern Goodbyes” for your enjoyment. Listen here exclusively this week and purchase your own copy when it goes on sale October 5th.


FREE PREVIEW STREAM ENDED. 

Voice: Nina Ricci
Acoustic Guitar: Nina Ricci
Harp: Olivia Fortunato
Violins I and II: Patrick Monnius
Upright Bass: Brandon Cantwell
Drum Set: Stewart Newman
Mixed by Marc Lacuesta
Mastered by Harold LaRue


Nina would like to extend a special thanks to Tony Gillespie and his Facebook group “The Village – Folk Music, History and Memorabilia” for financing the recording of this single.

Volk Party Tonight

Doors for the show were at noon. Music starts at 9:00 Laurel and the Love-In kick things off. Then a little burlesque followed by the main event VOLK show. After that, the Flying Buffaloes will be closing out the evening.

You may recall, VOLK was my favorite duo I saw at Americana

Chris and Eleot met at an open mic in Europe while living abroad and teaching English. They started jamming, and experimenting, and playing out a bit across the pond. 

After the extended Eurotrip, they resettled in Nashville and this little project continued to grow. Eleot actually learned to play drums specifically for the execution of this vision. 

The obvious comparisons include the White Stripes, Shovels & Rope, and Hymn for Her. They are a high-energy, technically-proficient duo with solid tunes. Go to the Springwater tonight for the EP release of Average American Band. Four fun and engaging tracks. I won’t let the cat out of the bag quite yet about the tunes, but once the album drops, expect to hear more about these guys and their great songs. Until then, just go check them out in person yourselves!

Megan Palmer (Photo: Stacie Huckeba)

We at FTNB have been friends and fans of Megan Palmer for quite some time. Known by many as that awesome fiddle player who plays with the likes of Darrin Bradbury, Tim Easton, and Amy Speace, Megan is an outstanding songwriter and singer in her own right.

Just about two years ago, we covered the release of her debut album, “What She’s Got to Give,” at the Basement East. While most artist tour behind their album releases, fate had different plans for Megan. Before closing the evening with an incredible version of John Hartford’s “In Tall Buildings“, she stood on the middle of the stage of the BEAST, got on the microphone, and announced she would be taking a hiatus immediately following that show to undergo a mastectomy and chemotherapy.

The video we are sharing this week is one she wrote while recovering. I remember she had several different looks while undergoing chemo with various wigs and hats. She managed to sneak up on me a couple times in her assorted disguises, but I quickly learned to look past the hair to her warm smile which remained unchanged throughout it all.

I recall discussing her experiences at the time: the good, the bad, and the ugly. With her characteristic grin, Megan leaned over and shared that one unanticipated side-effect was an improvement in her peripheral vision. Took me a minute. No hair to get in the way. Get it?

Today we are listening to “Stetson.” The premise of this one is straightforward, but powerful. It was written after Megan lost her hair to chemotherapy and was regaining her strength and confidence to return to normalcy. This transition required a number of props in the wig and hat department. This song describes the search for the perfect, killer hat—a talisman that would provide the strength and confidence needed to get back on the horse. What better hat than a Stetson for that?

Stacie Huckaba, East Nashville photographer to the stars and all-around kick-ass human being, was with Megan throughout her recovery. As ever, her camera was close at hand. She documented many intimate moments over these last two years, several of which appear in the video.

Megan released “Stetson”  through Blue Rose Music, an artist collective and charitable organization. Proceeds from the song and the “Stetson” T-shirt will benefit Gilda’s Club of Middle Tennessee. They provide free cancer support to those diagnosed as well as their family and friends.

Without any further adieu, please enjoy. And stay tuned for a podcast of my interview with Megan about this project.


 Spotify | iTunes | Amazon | Pandora


Megan’s Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Artists: Jonathan Beam, Ariel Bui, Mirthe Bolhuis, Aaron Shafer-Haiss, Sally Jaye, Bob Lewis, Teilisha Williams; Doctors: Dr. Mary Hooks, Dr. Kent Higdon, Dr. Vandana Abramson; Stylist: Payton Dale; Hair & Makeup: Jill Pugh; Photo/Videography/Director: Stacy Huckeba