Ruby Jane Smith @ The Mill, Iowa City, Iowa
On their way from Austin TX to Chicago IL for their Lollapalooza debut, The Ruby Jane Show played Iowa City this past Tues 8/2 and brought a rockin’, high decibel set to a small venue but enthusiastic crowd at The Mill. I had the pleasure of meeting Ruby Jane and proud mom Jobelle Smith before the show, and had the chance to chat with Jobelle about RJ and her musical journey. I was “warned” in advance that there would be scant evidence of the traditional music that usually makes up a good share of a setlist. They planned to use this stop as a “rehearsal” in preparation for today’s (Friday, Aug. 5th) noon debut at Lollapalooza in Chicago, a yearly event catering to Alt-Rock and JamBand enthusiasts. I can safely say that she will wow the uninitiated and satisfy the faithful. Enthusiasm and decibels were both at at high levels, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a bit too loud for some with more sensitive hearing, but it was just fine with the old-school rocker in me.
5’9″ Ruby Jane was nearly 6′ in her high-heeled boots, confident, playful, and consumed with the music all all times, whether she was soloing or stepping back out of the way of her guitarist Trevor Labonte while he shredded his Fender Tele, trading licks back and forth with Ruby Jane and her fiddle. She played the 12-string guitar on a number of songs, grabbing her fiddle up for incendiary solos and back to guitar.
Rounding out the band were two other great musicians not much older than RJ’s 16 years, Kal Roach on bass and brand new drummer Corey Keller. This cohesive quartet fed off each other’s energy and were a tight and polished unit, well prepared to bring some fire to the stage at Lollapalooza!
If you ever get a chance to experience the Ruby Jane Show, don’t pass it up, whether the roster is Traditional or Rock, you will not be disappointed!