Fiddling wunderkind Ruby Jane has already made her impression on country music, sharing the stage with Willie Nelson, Big & Rich and Mary Stuart, among others. The 17-year-old singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will play the Cooldog house concert series on Friday, Oct. 21.
Fiddling wunderkind Ruby Jane has already made her impression on country music, sharing the stage with Willie Nelson, Big & Rich and Mary Stuart, among others. The 17-year-old singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Texas played to her fan base this summer at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, then headed to Chicago to garner new followers at Lollapalooza. Now she’s heading out on a tour of her own with her band The Ruby Jane Show. She took a few minutes before starting her East Coast tour to talk about incorporating “fiddle shredding” into rock, her Grammy dreams and, of course, the tour.
Q When you play in Delaware will we hear a lot from your recently released live CD?
A The live CD was actually a re-release with a different touch. Now the sound is a little different. I’ll be touring with my whole band, and everything is more of a rock direction now. It’s a very, very energetic show, very fun, and all the guys in the band are absolutely incredible musicians. It’s going to be original material with a little more of a rock, indie direction.
When I say rock, I don’t want people to think they’re coming out to a headbanging show. It’s very easy to dance, to groove to, and it has a lot of rock in it.
People are still going to hear fiddle, some fiddle shredding as I like to call it, but it’s very lively and energetic and it appeals to every age.
Q What steered you toward rock?
A I’ve always kind of been pushing myself toward a specific direction and had this sound in mind for myself but I never really had the ability to make it possible. I either didn’t have the right songs or the band members, and I always did a lot of fiddling but had this vision in mind of myself as focusing a lot more on my voice and my sound. Over the past few months, the band has really come into the place where I want it to be, and explore those avenues and play those songs I’ve been working on.
Q You recently played both Austin City Limits Music Festival and Lollapalooza. What were those experiences like?
A Lollapalooza was amazing. I’ve been to ACL a couple of times, but Lollapalooza is even bigger, 270,000 people went through there that weekend. I’d never played in Chicago, and I didn’t know what kind of fan base I’d have but there was a great crowd. Austin City Limits, this was my fourth year, and it’s literally right down the street from where I live, it’s like playing in my backyard. To be able to play there for the fourth year with my band was an amazing experience.
Q You’ve shared the stage with Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and Mary Stuart. Who would you like to perform with?
A There are so many people that I admire, and people I can’t even believe who I’ve been able to share the stage with, like Willie Nelson and Big & Rich. My ultimate dream, though, is the Rolling Stones. I know that sounds so weird from someone who plays the fiddle, but it’s something I’ve always really loved. I’ve always been a rocker chick and grown up listening to rock and roll, which is really the same thing I’m looking to achieve with my music, a rock sound integrating fiddle. To be able to get on stage with the Rolling Stones and jam out with them would be my ultimate dream.
I love My Morning Jacket, I’ve been a really big fan of them over the past few months. I got to hang out with them at ACL, with Jim James a little bit. I was so starstruck.
Q What has kept you interested in the fiddle?
A I started playing when I was 2, so I have been doing it almost my entire life. I just love music so much and I can’t imagine not playing music. I can’t picture myself having a regular job, going into work every day.
I remember one time when I was probably 10 or 11 and I was going to a concert. It was early in the day before the concert and I started thinking what if I just decided not to do music, if I just had a normal job. I told my mom I didn’t want to play music anymore, and she supported me; I’m sure she knew I would change my mind. So the rest of the afternoon I decided not to play. Then we went to a concert that night and I just walked out and said, “I’m out of my mind.” So I was back on track. That was the only time in my life I didn’t want to play music, and that lasted about three hours.
Q What would you like to be doing in 15 years?
A It’s tough to say because this business is so unpredictable. I’ve always had, since I first started playing music, the same dream for myself, which is to have a major influence on the world with my music and make a difference. So every day I’m striving for that same goal. I’m just kind of taking it as it comes. Sixteen years from now I’ll be 33, so I would like to have won multiple Grammys and be playing 70,000-people arenas every night. That really is my dream, to reach out to thousands of people every night.