It wasn’t until I first saw her, just moments after arriving at the venue in Los Angeles, CA that she said my name as we momentarily crossed paths. Despite our bit of social text communication, it was then that I realized she didn’t remember me. I think she had a clue, but she didn’t remember the night we had first met until later in the evening when I had reminded her. At that particular moment she didn’t realize the significance that Bex Chilcott had of my heart and soul. It was at that moment I honestly felt like I was some kind of creeper. (Laughing now) She probably thought the same thing.
Bex Chilcott (AKA Ruby Boots) and I had met one night at a venue just blocks from my house in San Diego, CA. A mutual friend who produces music events in the area had brought Bex and her musician/guitarist friend Lee Jones to play on September 11, 2015. That was the same night I had met a FDNY firefighter that had survived the twin towers falling in New York city a few years before. He was in the area for a motivational speech . . . and subsequent after-event cocktail at the same bar that Bex was playing at that night. Both Bex and FDNY firefighter Joe Torrillo had remained in contact with me, albeit very seldom on social media, ever since. I saw comfort in Bex’s eyes as I reminded her of that night. I saw the re-connection.
Tonight I was to have met up with Bex before her first public Los Angeles appearance since signing on with Bloodshot Records and subsequently moving to the United States from her home of Perth Australia and recording under the Bloodshot label. It was time for Bex to be on her own and show the United States what this Americana Australian is all about.
Bex and I only shared a few moments before she finally took the stage on this Wednesday evening. I had traveled 4 hours in traffic from San Diego, California to “represent” since my music producer friend had a challenging week of music ahead of him. Part of doing his business, my music friend, whom I’ve done many events with him, needed to try to touch bases with the musicians he has developed relationships with. One of us had to make it to LA to see Bex. The other, or both of us, had to make it to Pioneertown, CA, in the Joshua Tree desert to meet up with Bex’s friend and fellow musician/band in the days immediately following this appearance by Bex. It was going to be a long weekend of music and friendships, via texting, Facebook and Instagram, shared between the two of us. I think I got the bad end of the stick, not the performance . . . ’cause I got a good one; rather the bad, was driving to Los Angeles and back to San Diego that same night.
Ruby Boots had a couple other very fine musicians with her. I’m not sure, but with the talent in Los Angeles, I wouldn’t doubt if they were just some fine local musicians her company sent over from one of the recording studios in the area. She mentioned during the show that she had only known them for two days. Well, they knew her music and performed flawlessly behind Bex’s rather fluent guitar abilities. It was during the show that I was able to really gather the talent of Bex and her ability on the guitar and as a vocalist. During the solo rendition of her single “Middle of Nowhere” she even sang the steel-guitar leads from the original recording that sent shivers down my back. She also sang her acclaimed a cappella “I am a Woman” and again showed the importance of applying a personality to lyrics explaining, before she started the song, that women are “powerful”, “independent”, “strong” . . . etc. She must’ve gone through about 10 different personality traits of a women before the words “absolutely” uttered from my mouth as the first audible spectator voice in the venue. I kept wanting to say something earlier, as I awaited others to do so, because I didn’t want to stand out. I kept thinking, this is what I would say about my wife, with each word she said. Anyway, that song needs to continue to be sung a cappella from her. The song has deep meaning and everlasting hints to the truths that bring about certain strengths and vulnerabilities of Bex’s life and career. That’s the way that song should be heard.
Ruby Boots performs on stage with energy and appeal. She interacts with the crowds and her fellow musicians on stage. She plays her guitar as if she’s been on stage for many years. She even got down on her knees at one point while dropping away from her behind-the-mic stage persona. She is a player of sorts, working the crowds on comments in the small venue and reaching for the inspiration of others from her lyrics. Ruby played much of her new 10-song CD but left out a couple of the singles from the release. She only played two songs from her previous recordings, perhaps reserving some songs from each album for her next tour. She had a good balance of genre-bending blends to capture this Los Angeles audience in between several audibly noticeable limitations of her voice during some of the numbers; something she’ll need to pay attention to for the future of this inspirational musician.
I think it was a good fit for her to be playing at this venue (my perspective). The crowd was mostly bobbing their heads to the newest tracks form her latest CD, and I think that is what Bloodshot Records saw in her. She is another great addition to the Bloodshot likes of Alejandro Escovedo and Sarah Shook. I think that Ruby Boots is another of the emerging top-shelf artists that Bloodshot is searching for . . . perhaps Bloodshot sees the next level of this Americana genre and the next level of their artists . . . and label.