LIVE: Travelling Boots

T

HEY are one part parlour lace, three parts cowboy belt.

For one minute a slow and wistful violin that floats across a ballroom floor and in the next a rattling stomp box bursting through the doors of a boozy saloon.

Then there is the voice.

Imagine Lucinda Williams wedding Gillian Welch at a west desert, white gospel barn dance and we might just pin them for a verse or two.

Fortunately for their ever-growing fan base, pinning Ruby Boots down for any longer than that is like slow-braking a freight train with a feather.

Originating from the West Australian roots scene, the four-piece channels an impressive array of musical styles.

Behind the soulful and evocative vocals of Bex Chilcott, Clay Smith lends an electric guitar, keys and his own vocals to their rollicking country cook-up.

On violin, Eliza Rogers is a  versatile performer while Ashwin Subramaniam expertly stamps away on the drums.

With two EPs already on the mantle, the past year has seen the band wander far and wide to record and produce their first full-length album.

With their new single Kellie Anne produced by the legendary Robin Eaton and the pedal steel manned by none other than Calexico’s Paul Niehaus, the album is sure to impress when it is released in May this year.

The band’s upcoming Newcastle show kicks up the dust on their An Endless Quest for Company Tour, a zig-zagging jaunt of old country folk and blues that has carved up the East Coast since early January.

The tour follows an impressive list of dates spanning the Australian and US festival circuits.

Playing the Tamworth Country Music Festival last week, where the band was nominated for a prestigious Golden Fiddle Award, their raucous, stirring performance was proof that staying on the road only strengthens a songwriter and their style.

“When I stay in one place too long, it feels like I might run out of things to write,” Chilcott said.

She said she was anything but exhausted by playing their all-night, endless road of festivals and solo shows.

“Standing still switches off the creative side of me. Being open and free allows me to stay in the right side of my mind,’’ Chilcott said.

‘‘So staying on the road has had a huge impact on the music we play.”

If recent success is anything to go by, it is likely that Ruby Boots will have this same massive impact on the music we listen to.

Back in their home state after performances at Laneway, Bridgetown Blues, Boyup Brook and an inspiring trip across Texas and Tennessee last year, the band was left with no less than three WA Music Awards, all in the midst of their debut single Wise Up seeming to play every other day on Triple J and Fbi Radio.

Despite an enormous year that glittered with critical acclaim, Bex looked back with other, more personal highlights in mind.

“When you have found your calling and it is making music, finally going to Nashville, where everybody has that same calling, feels like walking into a warm pair of arms,’’ Chilcott said.

Their musical pilgrimage from the suburbs of Perth to the heartland of country had a humbling effect on the band.

“When you’re just sitting in a bar and Wanda Jackson walks in you think, ‘Wow, so this is where the real stuff happens’,’’ Chilcott said.

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