Lost Highway Australia
When Bex Chilcott moved out of home at the age of 14 in working class Balga, she would never have imagined that it would serve her so well in her future profession. That time of living rough, followed by a stint of 12-hour days on a pearl boat, has held her in good stead as she lives out of a suitcase as arguably the hardest worker in Australian music under the Ruby Boots moniker.
Solitude is Chilcott’s first full-length LP for the battle weary road warrior. It was recorded over nine months in at least four different studios with a varied cast, but it was Chilcott’s focus and drive that has made this a cohesive collection from start to finish. It would be easy to focus on Chilcott’s affected drawl that could be a blessing or a curse for the powerfully voiced singer, but it is the songwriting here that matches her considerable skills as a vocalist.
Ruby Boots have mastered a chorus with up tempo rockers like Cola & Wine and Wrap Me In A Fever being, but it is the sultry ache in Chilcott’s delivery on tunes such as Ruby Blue and Long Time Coming that is her greatest strength. Middle Of Nowhere was written with The Waifs’ Vicki Thorn on her ranch in Utah and when aired live over the last year or so, has come across as pedestrian as best. Such is the power of the recordings on this release that the subtle peaks and troughs make the tune a keeper.