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.
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.
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 believerRuby Boots
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.
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.