Ruby Boots: Lady In Red

As Ruby Boots, Australian expat Bex Chilcott dons the cloak of reinvention

Ruby Boots’ Bex Chilcott is gazing out at the white stuff blanketing her East Nashville neighborhood. “We don’t get snow in Australia,” she says. “To me, this is like next level. You can’t see the road, and I’m quietly freaking out because I’ve got a video shoot.”

Apparently, snow isn’t one of the things that drew Chilcott to Music City from her native Perth. But there really never was a Plan B. “I first came here in 2012, and I said to myself, ‘You’re fucked. You’re gonna have to do everything you can to live here,’” says Chilcott.

Though she’d had some success as Ruby Boots—the band and the nom de plume—she’d pretty much hit a wall in Australia. On the new Don’t Talk About It (Bloodshot), she hammers away at that wall with the help of producer Beau Bedford and his Dallas-based Texas Gentlemen, as skilled and instinctual a studio collective as she could’ve hoped for. “Between all of them, I had access to this amazing wealth of musical knowledge,” she says. “They just followed their raw instincts and honored the songs.”

From the new-wavy “Believe In Heaven” and the glam sheen of the title track to the heartland rock of “Easy Way Out” and the Britpop insinuations scattered throughout, Don’t Talk About It feels like an album that’s out to prove a point. “I was honestly just following my heart,” says Chilcott. “In Australia, I’ve been pegged as an alternative-country artist, but I’ve never really thought of myself as an anything artist. I don’t even know if I’ve figured it out yet.”

Though her 2016 debut, Solitude, received its share of positive press, Chilcott does sound a little antsy and confined within its Americana framework. That same year, she hit it off with the Gentlemen when they made a stop in Nashville on their way to the Newport Folk Festival to play with Kris Kristofferson. A prolific writer, Chilcott had some 40 tunes ready to go, of which they chose 10. “When you’re handing over your songs to a collective of people, it could go many ways,” she says. “But it went exactly the way I wanted it to. And more.”

—Hobart Rowland

UNDER THE INFLUENCE WITH BEX CHILCOTT

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
“It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time. Frances McDormand plays this perfect role of what a shattered heart looks like, while also being the biggest badass who still manages to make you laugh.”

Beck’s Colors
“I’m obsessed when a favorite artist of mine takes a left turn and produces, in my humble opinion, a perfect pop record. Sia did it with We Are Born, and now this album has bitten me with lockjaw.”

Any Old Iron
“‘Rock ’n’ roll tailoring with a twist.’ The sequin suits they make are incredible.”