I know some of you think that I’m a little crazy for touting Austin’s 15-year-old fiddling phemon Ruby Jane so highly. That is because you have never seen Ruby Jane live. If you had (or have), then you know that despite all of my ridiculous accolades, nothing I’ve written about her does any justice to how astonishing a Ruby Jane Show is. It is the best music I have ever seen live. But don’t take my word for it.
Today at Austin City Limits Fest, Ruby Jane, as an unsigned, upcoming artist, was given an 11 AM slot on the BMI stage. That slot usually draws about 200 people. Ruby Jane drew 2000, and blew their doors off. From The Statesman:
As she left the stage, several of the early-morning festival goers wandered around like survivors of a tornado’s near miss. And in some ways, that was apropos-Ruby Jane seems less like a kid not yet old enough to drive and more like a force of musical nature.
At the age of 15, Ruby Jane has no musical peer. In The ACL Lineup, they slotted her as a 3rd tier performer. Her name might not be as recognizable as The Eagles, but her ability is unparalleled. She is a show stealer.
When I was working on re-designing the site, I was talking to Dave the Webmaster, and he mentioned that a mutual friend of ours had a baby, and they named her Ruby Jane. There was no connection to the performer, it was just a coincidence. But when I said to Dave, “Do you know about Ruby Jane, the fiddle player?” he almost freaked. “Do I know about her? Oh my God, I saw her on Austin City Limits with Willie and the Wheel and she stole the show! Everything was going along just fine, and then she took maybe a 30 second solo, and I could believe what I was seeing.”
Dave the Webmaster, along with being good with computers, is the smartest music mind I’ve ever known, and was a music theory
major in college. He’s also the harshest music critic I know, and he’s not easily, if ever, impressed.
Ruby has been appearing in a play called A Ride With Bob about Bob Wills, written and starring Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel. Ruby appearance is small, but her impact is huge. From a review on Pegasus News:
Ruby Jane Smith, a 15-year-old fiddle prodigy and multi-instrumentalist, played a few different roles throughout the show. Although she wasn’t a main character, her ability on the fiddle was simply awe-inspiring. She stood modestly on stage and kept her head down when she wasn’t playing, but as soon as she picked up her fiddle, all eyes were on her and folks looked on with dumbfounded astonishment.
Someone once told me when I mentioned how I was in dumbfounded astonishment that Ruby Jane was not bigger than she is, “She’s 15 man. Give it time.” The way I see it, for those sitting on the sidelines waiting for the Ruby Jane Show to get big before they will pay attention, time is wasting.
Ruby Jane is one of the biggest things to happen in music in our generation. This is a fact. The only variable is when our generation will wake up and realize it.
Stealing the show with Blues Traveler at ACL: