Ruby Boots is the nom de plume for Perth’s Bex Chilcott, and though this is wholly a solo album in terms of songwriting and musical personality, she has corralled the talents of a number of accomplished individuals on her spellbinding debut full-length release.
Co-starring roles go to Vicki Thorn (The Waifs), Jordie Lane, Davey Lane, and country stalwart Bill Chambers, yet Chilcott’s is the name in lights on Solitude. Across ten songs she rouses deep and ragged emotion, tugs on heartstrings with authentic ache and yearning, and succinctly nails tried and true subject matter with infectious melodies and deft lyricism. Hers is one of those red wine-stained voices that is as comfortable with sweet frailty as it is with full-blooded and brassy rock and roll and deep gospel/country soul. Jordie Lane’s duet on “Lovin’ in the Fall” is a real highlight — their voices burst with unique character and a playful interplay. “No Stranger”, meanwhile, is stripped bare to just keys, a lonesome harmonica, and Chilcott showing the full range of her voice.
Ruby Boots’ ability to draw from a number of roots music styles is what cements Solitude as a benchmark release. She can evoke the late-night bar through the bottom of an empty whisky glass vibe as vividly as the carefree open highway. These are key tenets of what makes the fast-rising Australian Americana music scene so popular. It’s the ups and downs of real life, encapsulated in song. Ruby Boots has captured that and more on her world-class debut.