AS a teenager Ruby Boots didn’t run away, but she did walk at a brisk pace to distance herself from her “conflicted” Girrawheen home.
“I left home early,” she tells the Voice, but refuses to elaborate, as she sips coffee in Melbourne airport.
The 36-year-old singer-songwriter—aka Bex Chilcot—now lives in the US and is back in Perth for the release of her second album Don’t Talk About It.
Like most artists the road to success has been a colourful and nomadic one.
At the age of 20, Chilcott banged on doors in Broome until she landed a job on a pearling lugger.
She then went overseas and got a job on a trawler in France, but was fired and tried her hand at busking in the UK.
It proved to be a pivotal moment, providing Chilcott with the confidence to pursue a career as a country singer/songwriter.
She cites The Waifs, Janis Joplin, Patty Griffin and Linda Ronstadt as influences, and the title song of her new album is a country rock tune about family secrets and lies.
But the “back bone” of the album is I Am a Woman, a comment on the treatment of women and their bodies, Chilcott says.
“These kinds of incidents are so ingrained in our culture and are swept under the carpet at every turn.”
Akin to a gospel hymn, the song is a gentle reminder that things need to change.
“As tempting as it was to just write an angry tirade I wanted to respond with integrity, so I sat with my feelings and this song emerged as a celebration of women and womanhood, of our strength and our vulnerability, all we encompass and our inner beauty, countering ignorance and vulgarity with honesty and pride and without being exclusionary to any man or woman,” she says.
“My hope is that we come together on this long drawn-out journey.”
You can catch Ruby Boots at the Rosemount Hotel in North Perth on Friday May 11.
by JENNY D’ANGER