"I love cats, singing and peanut butter cups" We chat with Ruby Boots
maybe the most famous Australian country music star in Nashville, but there are a whole set of talented Aussies making more interesting music in the town. The release of Ruby Boots second album, Don't Talk About It, seemed like the perfect time to ask the Nashville immigrant about the album, recruting The Texas Gentlemen, and what we should call her.
Hey Ruby, how the devil are you?
I am doing great!! How are you?
Fantastic thanks, should we be calling you Bex? [Ed: Ruby's real name is Bex Chilcott]
You can call me either, I don’t mind!
OK Bex, where are you right now?
At home, in East Nashville.
What have you been up to today?
I’ve been walking dogs all day, now I’m counting out my merch getting ready for SXSW listening to Sea Change By Beck with my leopard skin slippers on my feet. I just ate maple and brown sugar oats for dinner, life is really simple today and I am really happy and content with the simplicity.
Tell us about yourself.
I love cats, singing and peanut butter cups, the dark chocolate healthy kind! I am also Australian. I am a lover not a fighter and I have lived five lives in this one life I am living right now. I learnt to play guitar whilst working on a pearling farm and living out at sea on a houseboat.
What can you tell us about your new record Don’t Talk About It in two sentences?
My new album is a more realised album, in as far as making a record that I am proud of. I wrote it here in Nashville and it doesn't fit into any boxes, it just is what it is, that's what I love about it most.
How did you go about writing and choosing which songs to record?
I spent a lot of time collaborating with some really great friends and songwriters in Nashville and most of the songs were born from a conversation. I would deliberate each day about a lyric in a song or a few notes in a melody and excruciatingly weigh up every option on the songs until I felt like I had them really right. Eventually I had about 40 songs to choose from and the songs that I knew represented how I see myself and how I see the world right now rose to the top. I had a lot of help from my wonderful producer Beau Bedford who came out to Nashville and helped me make sense of what I wanted and what I had before we went into the studio, he was a godsend.
Tell us about ‘It’s So Cruel’, my favourite track on the record, and a hell of an opener.
Oh I love that you love that one! That song is one of my faves to play live. You know the drill, two people meet, both seemingly single, one not as single as they profess to be and the other person has no idea until they end up finding out the hard way. It's a shitty situation to be in, but worth writing about!
‘I Am A Woman’ is a very relevant song right now, where did that come from?
I love that it is relevant for right now, but the truth of the matter its been relevant for years, it was written in 2016 in fact, which drives home my point. It came from a place where I was tired of hearing people say that women don’t have agency over their own body, which is bullshit but unfortunately not practiced by everyone, some people feel like they can ‘take’ another human beings body and that really hurts, it makes me feel powerless. It was originally written from the pain that comes from that place and the need to be heard.
And was it a purposeful thing to strip it right back?
All the songs on the album were produced, I feel, in the best way that served the song, so yes in that respect it was.
What impact do you feel the #MeToo and #TimesUp type movements will have on the music industry?
Hopefully we see a huge shift and soon, and let's not limit it to the music industry, we need to keep these discussions open to society at large! People are coming together, single voices are becoming one and becoming louder and louder and that is what’s going to create the change.
You wrote ‘I’ll Make It Through’ with Nikki Lane, how did that come about?
We were throwing around a melody at the Nashville airport en route to Chicago, Nikki had a Halloween show so I was going with to sing backups, we all dressed as zombie Cubs players that night! So anyway, we were toying around with it at the airport, we then both forgot what the idea was until I was messing around on the guitar one day and then it came back to us, the song came together in about an hour from there!
How do you find the music community in Nashville?
Supportive, collaborative, thriving, diverse and amazing!
Where the best place to get a drink and hear good music in Nashville?
The Five Spot or The Basement OG, I love those spots!!
You worked with The Texas Gentlemen on the record, they’re an incredible band, how was that experience?
Magical! What a band to be in the studio with, everyone worked from such amazing instincts and really brought so much to the room and the songs! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! Beau Bedford was steering the ship as a producer, and he really is a producer in its traditional form, he can do pretty much anything in the studio to get to where we needed to go and do it with so much class and grace!
When was the last time you were starstruck?
When Emmylou Harris shook mine and my friend Emma Swift's hand at The Basement East and told us she loved our live rendition of Lucinda Williams’ ‘Jackson’, that was pretty special!
If you could recommend one song to hear this week, what would it be?
Cherry Glazser - 'Told You I’d Be With The Guys'
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
8 oz soy latte. 2.5 sugars! … don't judge me, I am Australian so I am picky and justifiably so!
Thanks so much for your time Bex.
You can find out more about Ruby Boots on her website, you can also follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, or see her on Instagram.
Don't Talk About It is out now and available to stream everywhere, or buy from decent music outlets. Stream in full below from Tidal.