Ruby the RabbitFoot at the Historic Scoot Inn: Live Review

Photo by Bryan Parker

Photo by Bryan Parker

Opening the night was Dollie Barnes, a four-piece from Waco led by the mighty Haley Barnes whose vocals run to an upper register with control and clarity like few I’ve seen in Austin. Like a young Appalachian steward calling for help from her Southern cohort, Barnes sang pleasantly haunting folk rock with help from Zach Daniel on drums, Andrew Hulett on lead guitar, and Hannah Read on bass. Their sound mixes bluegrass-style rhythms with Texas harmonies and swing, forging a dark current in the stream of female indie rock.

Photo by Bryan Parker

Photo by Bryan Parker

As luck would have it (for your dear correspondent), the backing band makes up the three-piece Lomelda, who followed Dollie Barnes. Ms. Read moved up to lead vocals and traded the bass for a hollowbody guitar, filling in rhythm duties to Mr. Hulett’s lead. Calling to mind female singer Jane Siberry, Read sings with an emotional presence to which her drummer can’t help but fall over his drum set in response.  Seriously, the dude was jumping out of his throne, singing along fervently, leaning forward and falling into the kit.

Photo by Lukas Truckenbrod

Photo by Lukas Truckenbrod

Ruby the RabbitFoot followed.  Her quirky indie pop was accomplished with her on guitar and occasional keys and another guitar player playing smooth Telecaster leads.  Ruby’s voice followed suit with the rest of the bill and charmed her way through a casual set of stripped-down renditions of songs that offer full accompaniment on recorded versions.  She is touring in support of her newest LP, New As Dew, out on Normaltown Records, an imprint of New West Records.  Ruby was honest and bashful in between songs but showed grace and experience amidst her pop gems like “Ways,” the first single off the new record.  Though accessible and eager, sweetness hides the edgy bitterness in Ruby.

Photo by Lukas Truckenbrod

Photo by Lukas Truckenbrod

Following Ruby the Rabbitfoot’s set, Greg Mullen and his Cosmic American band clambered onto the stage to deliver a steady pulse of original tunes and adaptations.  John Prine and Woody himself were present in the set as Mullen blew the harp, the drums kicked and the bass rolled on.  Pedal steel and occasional Stratocaster lead parts added a further dimension to the rounded out Cosmic American sound.

Photos by Bryan Parker & Lukas Truckenbrod as captioned. © Bryan Parker, Lukas Truckenbrod, & Pop Press International; all rights reserved. Click any image to open in slideshow viewer.

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