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Ruby Boots : Solitude

★★★★

Last year I caught the last ten minutes of Ruby Boots’ set at the Darebin Music Feast. I realised immediately that I should have gotten my act into gear and arrived right at the start, as her commanding stage presence and mastery of alt-country proved to be compelling. It’s great to hear that debut album Solitude captures the spark that was so evident in the live setting. For those of us who have never warmed to the slick and sanitised version of country music that often gives the genre a bad name, it’s reassuring to hear Boots injecting grit, authenticity and passion into each song.
 
Far from the bloodless, big-hatted nonsense that seems to fill arenas, Boots brings a fiery street-level charm and swagger to everything she does. She is also fiendishly adept at filling the listener’s head with melodies that happily take residence in the memory banks. Cola and Wine, for instance, is a particularly catchy case in point and kick starts the album with aplomb.  Lovin' in the Fall, a rollicking and visceral duet with the consistently entertaining Jordie Lane, sounds like it was a helluva lot of fun to record and is even more fun to listen to as it positively burns with melody and attitude. If you have lost faith in country music, check out this exciting album­- it may just reignite your passion for the genre.
 
BY GRAHAM BLACKLEY