Breakout Country Darling Ruby Force Talks Her Phenomenal New Album, Love of Vic Chesnutt, and Answers Our Stereotypical “Country” Questions
27 1:01 pm
In this world of endless pop country tracks, Ruby Force is a refreshing breath of classic country goodness. The musical project of Erin McLaughlin, the persona she takes on is confident, sweet, and incredibly able to single handedly bringing back the roots of country. Influences range from Dolly to Jenny Lewis and her lyrics are clever but always relatable. She simply doesn’t try to blow you away with metaphors too heavy for a three-minute song. Her debut album Evolutionary War (out now!) draws on the songwriters personal experiences of self-discovery and features some heavy hitters in the industry who have worked with acts like The Black Keys, Father John Misty, and The Shins. The result is a beautiful collection of genre busting and vulnerable tracks that will reach a wide range of listeners.
We caught up with who Rolling Stone Country praised as one of 10 New Artists You Need to Know and asked her about her influences, her stellar new album, and her love for the criminally underrated Vic Chesnutt.
We love the new album and the many genres and influences we can hear from it. What have been some of the meaningful albums that have helped shape your sound?
Thank you! When I did the bulk of the writing for this record I had just gotten my first little vinyl player. I was picking up stuff in thrift stores first so I was listening to a lot of classic roots and rock music; Emmylou Harris Roses In The Snow, Otis Redding Dock of the Bay, Eagles The Long Run, Fleetwood Mac Rumors, Son House Father of Folk Blues Collection and more.
Then there were the cds I’m always listening to while I drive; Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Fernando Ortega Storm, Ryan Adams Gold and Love is Hell and lots of early 2000’s Indie pop like Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity and so on.
While we don’t like to pigeonhole artists with labels, there is an awesome country mystique to your tunes, what elements are essential to writing a badass country song?
It’s funny, I think the country sound must be in my body somewhere naturally. Four on the floor just feels good to me. Also, I’m not a fan of the way a lot of female pop vocalists enunciate their vowels so I probably avoid that sound in phrasing etc…. Other than that, it’s all about heart. I can be light or I can get dark but I always do my best to keep it real.
The album is garnering some much-deserved press and while it is pretty solid beginning to end, do you have a particular track or two that are your favorite?
Thank you! Yeah it feels good after so much hard work to have people appreciate it. I’m fairly proud of the way Diamonds and Why Do You Leave turned out. Those were two that I finished writing just before we wrapped up recording. I think Richard Swift’s melodic synth stuff took Why Do You Leave to Planet Zed which is exactly what I was hoping for that song. And Eli’s Mellotron arrangement in Diamonds adds something unforgettable to the melody. Also I could hear this choir of angles singing but we didn’t have one of those so Eli and I had to become them. It was an excersise in creativity and that always feels great.
We appreciate “Ode to Vic Chesnutt”. What was the thought behind the name and what does his music mean to you as a songwriter in a similar musical space?
A close friend showed me Flirted With You All My Life just after my little brother had passed. When I heard about Mr. Chesnutt’s life and struggle and death I had a reaction. I mean he was this incredible singer, songwriter and performer with so much heaviness in his life and you can hear it in the music. Combined with an already overwhelming sense of loss I sank pretty low and his music helped me reach that new depth of grief. Eventually though I got tired of feeling helpless for the things I couldn’t change that were breaking my heart. I wrote the song as a response and sort of a reminder to myself. I was thinking of the plight of Sisyphus and Vic and anyone who has felt the burden of life and sorrow. I was facing the perspective of a glass being half empty or half full as cliche as that is. Hope in the midst of struggle and pain as a choice and one that I promised to force myself if need be, to strive for and perhaps inspire others toward.
Dive bar or outdoor music fest?
Definitely both. Though on a windy day and probably just for the characters, dive bar for sure.
Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn?
A house divided will never stand.
Beer or whiskey?
What is next after the release? Tour?
A lot of writing, songs and more. Tour for sure. I can’t wait to meet those characters. All of you characters.