Singer/songwriter Bex Chilcott, best known in her native Australia under the moniker of Ruby Boots has led quite a life. When she was 16. Chilcott left Perth and worked her way up the desolate Western Australian coast, before she ended up in Broome, a tough and culturally diverse dot on the map, where reportedly it doesn’t pay to ask people too many questions about their pasts or why they ended up there. And while there, Chilcott worked for weeks at a time on a pearling trawler, where she worked with hardened men, alcohol was forbidden and the work was grindingly hard. Naturally, the time on the seas gave a young Chilcott hours to contemplate life, teach herself guitar and songwriting — and to eventually sing her own material. Returning from a self-imposed exile to civilization, Chilcott learned that she could not only write and sing, but that people actually wanted to listen to her material — and that was when she began to perform as Ruby Boots.
The release of Chilcott’s first two Ruby Boots EP received attention for bold, unafraid and unabashedly honest music that tells tales of tough souls, who see their lives and affairs of the heart as deathly serious matters. And as a result, Chilcott has shared stages with the likes of Father John Misty, Shakey Graves, Justin Townes Earle, Shovels & Rope, Nikki Lane, Reverend Horton Heat, Tony Joe White, Kris Kristofferson and others, which has (naturally) further expanded her profile across the Americana/alt-country scenes both in her native Australia and internationally.
Chilcott’s long-awaited and forthcoming debut full-length effort Solitude will be released through Lost Highway Records Australia in September, and interestingly enough, the album was recorded in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Spain and Utah — and features collaborations with The Waifs‘ Vicki Thorn, along with some of Australia’s top alt-country talents, including Dewey Lane, Jordie Lane, Bill Chambers, The Sleepy Jackson‘s and Eskimo Joe‘s Lee Jones, who has been one of Chilcott’s frequent collaborators.
Solitude‘s latest single “Wrap Me In A Fever” is comprised of an elegantly simple yet gorgeous arrangement of twangy electric guitar, Chilcott accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, subtle yet persistent drumming, and keyboards. And the arrangement is spacious enough to allow room for Chilcott’s effortless vocals which express a hard-fought wisdom, a practical, real-world experienced toughness and a plaintive vulnerability just underneath the surface within a turn of a phrase, and in a way that will remind some listeners of Neko Case. Lyrically, the song possesses an unvarnished honesty as it presents an image of a relationship on the rocks as its narrator pretty much says to her lover “you either come on board with me or get out of my way and let me go.”
The recently released official video has a fairly simple premise as it follows Chilcott driving on lonely roads to and from shows at various hours of the day and night with her guitar in tow. And the entire time, it’s apparent that she has a lover on her mind, as she leaves photos behind in random places before burning the rest and moving forward. It evokes the lonely life of a touring musician in a way that’s profoundly honest.
Chilcott will be on tour throughout the months of August, September and October — with a Stateside tour in September. Check out tour dates below.
Aug 22 – Darwin, WA, AU @ Darwin Festival
Aug 26 – Dowerin, Wheatbelt, WA, AU @ Dowerin Field Day
Sep 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Cid
Sep 11 – San Marcos, CA @ Old California Mining Co.
Sep 19 – Nashville, TN @ Americana Music Festival – 5 Spot 1:25 – 1:50pm
Sep 20 – Nashville, TN @ Americana Music Festival – The Blue Bar Midtown – Songwriters in the round 5:30-6:40p
Sep 23 – Nashville, TN @ Music City Roots
Sep 24 – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
Oct. 3 & 4 – The Hunter Valley, AU @ Dashville Skyline (Americana Festival)
Oct. 30 – Freemantle Festival @ Freemantle Town Hall