On Friday (8-27-10) I saw Ruby Jane Smith perform at The Kessler Theater in Dallas, TX. I was going to write a review for the show, and then write Ruby a fan letter because I was so moved by the performance. As I was writing the letter I noticed I was writing a quasi review as well, and so I decided to post it here in lieu of a traditional review.
Dear Ruby Jane,
Listen. I’m a man from Texas, and men from Texas are taught not to wear their emotions on their sleeve. But as simply as I can put it, you have touched my life in an indelible way. You have given me hope for the state of music and life in general where before there was only dejection.
I may be twice your age, but when I look at you, I look up. Music has been the passion of my life, and in 32 years, I have never been so moved as I have been by you and your music.
I saw you for the first time just two short months ago and was blown away, with very few criticisms I could draw from the performance. Somehow in such a short time and from such a lofty perch, with dedication and talent you were able to soar to even newer heights that I never thought would be possible, for any one of any age. And what makes my mind stir with rabid curiosity and wonder is what will the next two months bring, let alone two years, and a lifetime of musical expansion ahead of you.
This time the stage show was much more refined. It was wise for you not to show up on stage until it was time to play. Keep the audience tickled with anticipation until the music is ready to start. I also though you handled yourself on stage better. You talked less than the last time, though when you did talk you endeared yourself to the crowd with your humility and pureness. You’re more comfortable with your vocal style now, it comes more natural. And somehow you figured out how to take your violin playing up another notch, with your solos featuring even more blazing runs and attack, but still they were articulated with tremendous feeling.
Still I look at your music and wonder why I am so passionate about it, and I have come to realize that it has only partly to do with the music Ruby Jane. A lot of it has to do with you, as a person. There are many great musicians out there, many great songwriters and singers, many prodigies. But there’s only one Ruby Jane. The music is sort of like a spotlight. Life is so cluttered, and there’s so many people in the world that the beauty of the individual can so easily get lost. Your music says to people, “Hey, look at me,” but when they see you as a person, that is what creates such intrigue and delight, and what makes Ruby Jane an artist for the ages.
Since the history of mankind, humans have had a tendency to unrealistically romanticize that they live in the worst of times, whether they are referring to the economy, crime, culture, etc. So I don’t want to come across as too dramatic, but I will say that our world right now is severely lacking in young girls to look up to, especially in music. You are what the world needs right now Ruby Jane, and all you have to do to show thousands of little girls that is to be yourself. You don’t need to give any long speeches or public service announcements, you can prove to them how beautiful they can be if they insist on being themselves, and not what a hyper-commercial, oversexed society wants them to be.
I myself have said, “Ruby Jane was sent to earth by God to save country music.” But this is me putting my desires and expectations on to you. Ruby Jane was sent to earth to be Ruby Jane, and the reason that you have drawn the attention of so many so far is by being yourself, and being afforded through fortunate circumstances to follow your dreams.
Though you have to keep your humility, even when fans like me pump you up and throw all manner of compliments your way. You will have demons and failings, but you will learn from them. And we all can learn from you as well.
I sometimes wonder if adults and people your age frustrate you, if you see them doing things that are self-destructive and wonder, why? Its because if they’re not being themselves, a bottomless hole opens in their soul and insists on being filled. Bad things can fill that whole, but so can music, and music can inspire and fulfill and bring people back to where they belong. As much as I can write and promote music, I can never fill the hole myself. You can, and you do.
But of course you already know all of this Ruby, you’re so wise. It’s almost silly for others to try to give you advise. Instead we should try to step back and watch the flower bloom, and provide it with support and nourishment. Though advise should never be taken fleetingly or as an insult.
I’m a fighter Ruby, not a lover, which makes my wild passion for your music a little curious to many I’m sure, including myself. If they saw you perform live once though, they would understand. Videos and recordings do no justice. I will fight for you Ruby, that is my promise. And this is no charity. No amount of hours pecking at a keyboard could ever repay the amount of grace I have been afforded through the Ruby Jane experience.
And maybe I am more of a lover than I am willing to admit. Maybe your music has helped me realize that. Because the love and passion I have for you and your music is not normally what a fan would have for an artist, it is more the passion one would have for family. And I have a feeling most of your fans would say the same thing.
Thank you, Ruby.
Kyle “The Triggerman” Coroneos