“‘The idea behind the name recalls life as a wayfaring troubadour, living for the moment, being independent and not fearful. Ruby’ is fiery and passionate, and ‘boots’ is about all that moving around that comes with it.”
Ruby Boots (Bex Chilcott) lives and breathes her music. Her passion burns bright and comes from a place of heartfelt storytelling wrapped up in consummate songwriting. Not one to be pigeon-holed, she has nonetheless risen to be one of the pre-eminent Australian artists on the Americana/alt-country scene with numerous tours and international support slots culminating in 2015 with the release of her debut, critically acclaimed album, Solitude.
Released on the iconic alt-country label Lost Highway Records in Australia, Solitude is the result of time spent touring and honing her songwriting and performance. Across ten songs she at times rouses deep and ragged emotion and at others extols the virtues of living life with a free spirit and open heart. Infectious melodies and deft lyricism taking the listener on a journey that begs to be repeated as soon as it ends. Bex has one of those red wine-stained voices that is as comfortable with sweet frailty as it is with full-blooded and brassy rock ‘n’ roll and deep gospel/country soul. Her live shows are a journey and story in themselves.
“I think the essence of good country music is a f***ing well written song with a well written story – one that really hits home on a real and emotional level, not just on the surface.”
Hailing from Western Australia, Bex first left home to work on pearling boats, an experience that instilled her desire to become a musician and gave her distance, space and time to learn to sing, play guitar, and write songs. Returning to terra firma she spent time in bands, learning the dynamics of working with other musicians and the trials and tribulations of finding one’s place in the music industry.
Since 2010 Bex has released three EPs of increasingly accomplished Americana music and received the West Australian Music Awards’ “Best Country Music Act” five consecutive times. That recognition in her home state quickly spread nationally with the release of Solitude and it’s accompanying singles Middle Of Nowhere, Cola & Wine, Wrap Me In A Fever (West Australian Music (WAM) 2015 Country Song of The Year).
Though Ruby Boots is essentially Bex Chilcott’s project, she’s always open to collaboration and musical cross-pollination – with an ear to finding the best possible arrangements and players for her songs. As a result, Solitude features The Waifs’ Vicki Thorn co-writing and singing on Middle of Nowhere and No Stranger; You Am I’s Davey Lane on Solitude; Jordie Lane on the duet Lovin’ in The Fall; Bill Chambers on Walk Away and Chilcott’s right hand man Lee Jones (The Sleepy Jackson, Eskimo Joe) on guitar and lap steel throughout the album. Her live shows range from solo, through various combinations of a duo to a full kick arse band – each bringing different interpretations to her songs.
“The model of getting on the road and getting in front of people is what I’ve always believed in. It doesn’t have to happen at one or two festivals for me every year. It has to happen every weekend of every month.”
Commitment and sacrifice are two key requirements for getting one’s music to the widest possible audience and Bex has left no stone unturned. She’s toured constantly over the last two and a half years, played an important role in building the Australian alt-country scene and is now making fearless in-roads into the daunting country music industry in America.
“Every day I wake up hungry for it, it’s what I live for. I’m extremely excited and very fortunate to be able to do it. As each day passes I’m more and more grateful for it and it keeps growing. All these beautiful things keep happening and you realise how lucky you are – though I believe you have to create your own luck.”
For more information, please visit rubybootsmusic.com.
BEN WRIGHT SMITH
At only 25 years of age, Melbourne’s Ben Wright Smith has an impressive number of musical accomplishments under his belt. After a string of acoustic folk / rock releases which sparked the imagination of the international folk fraternity, Wright Smith found himself traveling the world and writing and performing everywhere from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Havana to Mumbai. In 2012 Ben wound up in Nashville where he shared stages at the Americana Music Festival with an enviable list of musical compatriots that includes Kasey Chambers andJustin Townes Earle.
Ben Wright Smith’s new ‘In Parallel’ EP premiered on NYLON Guys Magazine shortly before its official release date on Friday, June 28th. The EP’s first single, “If Living The Good Life Is Easy (Why Is This So Hard),” was co-produced with fellow Melbournian Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy, Ali Barter) and mixed and mastered by Andrei Eremin (Chet Faker). The stunning video for the track was shot on location in beautiful Blairgowrie, Victoria by Charlie Ford and Josh McKie (Vance Joy, Courtney Barnett), and was praised by Tone Deaf, Mess + Noise, Speaker TV, and Triple J Unearthed’s Richard Kingsmill.
The second single from the EP, “Fictional,” was praised for its 60s country aesthetic that worked well with its perversely flowery clip filled with avant-garde imagery and pseudo 90s high art composition. “Fictional” received local and nationwide radio play and was also added to the feature play list on Triple J Unearthed. His latest single, the EP’s title track, premiered on American Songwriter and was later featured on Guitar World. Ben Wright Smith will make his way to Nashville from Melbourne this summer where he will spend three months writing and recording his next LP with renowned producer Mark Moffatt (Keith Urban, Neil Finn, The Saints).
To read the NYLON Guys Magazine feature and preview the ‘In Parallel’ EP, click HERE.
For more information, please visit benwrightsmith.com.
Right up there with my love for music (think U2, The Church, Counting Crows, Lloyd Cole, Colin Hay, Gin Blossoms, etc), is my love for comedy. When I’m not playing or writing music (or watching Barney or going to the park with my adorable and persuasive little girl), I love watching or listening to standups like George Carlin, Steven Wright, and Frank Caliendo and watching shows such as Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Bored to Death etc. I’m partial to doing the odd impression and I’d like to think if I wasn’t a musician, I’d be involved in comedy in some way, shape or form (job security is pretty important to me).
When it comes to my music, I naturally write melodic pop/rock songs. Mostly I simply hear a tune in my head and will have to sit down at the guitar (and less frequently the piano) to figure out what it is I’m hearing. Likewise, I often feel my lyrics are sent from somewhere else and yet they usually seem to reflect what’s been happening for me in recent times – or, strangely, sometimes seem to speak of a future I’ve not yet reached. As time goes on, my lyrics seem to mirror my personal preoccupation with transcending the trappings of the mind, living in the present moment, reinvention and quantum physics.
I count myself lucky to have been a musician pretty much since I was 17 and decided to busk (perform free in the street) in a busy mall in the city of Perth where I grew up and still base myself some of the year. When I’m not there, I’m either on the road in Australia or in North America, which is now my second home.
I’ve been fortunate enough to open up for an eclectic mix of Australian, UK and US acts (from The Black Crowes to The Church’s Marty Willson-Piper, Jimmy Barnes, Kasey Chambers, Sia and Youth Group amongst others) and have played at international festivals SXSW, CMJ and Canadian Music Week.
Some of my songs have been on hit TV shows Gossip Girl and Flash Forward and my old band The Woodenelves was on Australian TV show ROVE Live in an episode that featured U2.
In 2013 I spent 3 months in Nashville, Tennessee after being awarded a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to live, write, and record there. While there I recorded my new EP, It’s Just You, with iconic Australian producer Mark Moffatt (Keith Urban, Stacey Earle, Tony Joe White and the Divinyls, Yothu Yindi, Mondo Rock, etc).
For more info on Travis Caudle, please visit traviscaudle.com.au.
“When you feel like you’re lost, and tired from travelling, walk on, you’re slowly heading home”. That’s the first line of song written by a man who, geographically, has many homes. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Altmann is originally from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, and now divides his time between Melbourne, Hamilton, and Nashville. Along his journey he has embraced many musical styles; from his first group, country-rock tinged The Drowners, to the more modern pop/rock sound of The Vandas, and on to a solo career steeped in early 1970s Americana.
If “home is where the heart is”, then Altmann’s current residence is within his latest musical project, Nothing But Nice Things, a follow up to his 2010 solo debut, Que Paso. Here you will find a more sophisticated writer, who has drawn from his recent experience co-writing with some of Nashville’s hottest to select 10 of his strongest compositions. The album explores themes like spirituality, love, and people in society, with soulful, piano-driven melodies, sparse guitars, and rich backing vocals grooving to solid drum and bass lines.
When not playing shows with his 10-piece revue-style band in Melbourne, Chris handles lead guitar duties for Australian alt-country group Wagons, and rising Canadian country star Tim Hicks. He’s also an in-demand session player, appearing on dozens of roots recordings in Australia and Canada.
Altmann finished 2012 with an extensive Australian tour in support of Nothing But Nice Things. In 2013 he returned to Nashville to embark on a 3-month songwriting residency funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, who selected Altmann as the first recipient of this new initiative. He is now focusing on songwriting, with plans to release a new album in 2014.
For more info about Chris Altmann, please visit chrisaltmann.com.au.