(Press Release) The Snakehandlers had a great excuse to skip SXSW this year - they began tracking for their new album, Little Black Heart at Dale Watson's Ameripolitan Studios with Cris Burns (Rosie Flores, Asleep at the Wheel, The Mavericks) manning the board. They are finalizing vocals now, the album will be released this summer. Ruby and guitarist Jorge Harada will co-produce for the first time, a new set of Ruby-penned songs since her journey back from a serious brain injury that threatened to sideline her permanently 8 years ago. The accident was devastating physically and personally - afterwords she was unable to speak easily let alone write or compose songs, so she began writing recipes out for friends and family as a form of cognitive therapy. Within 8 months, she found she'd written a southern cook book: Ruby's Juke Joint Americana Cookbook. Ruby soon found a publisher to release it and began hosting a cooking show on the radio. But songwriting continued to elude her, until a few years ago, when something clicked into place and she began again. "It takes a lot more out of me, but that makes me feel like I am giving that much more of myself to the song," Ruby reflects.
In addition to 12 originals, the Snakehandlers tear it up on the Jack Scott tune "The Way I Walk," made famous by the Cramps.
Ruby Dee & the Snakehandlers play Americana that encompasses Texas honky-tonk, Bakersfield twang, Memphis rockabilly, Western swing and good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll. Blue Suede News recently wrote that “The heart of the 13-song set emanates from Dee’s original material which combines poetic expressionism and hillbilly sass. Aided by Jorge Harada’s top-flight guitar work — which alternates ballroom tenderness with rowdy roadhouse rock — she sounds like a Texas dance hall chanteuse visiting us from another era.”
The Snakehandlers appeal starts with Ruby’s singing and songwriting, wrought from her childhood spent between the no-longer-wild foothills of Northern California and the long straight roads around Big Spring, Texas; her time escaping to South America, driving a truck, working Alaskan fishing boats and more. And Gretsch-endorsed guitarist Jorge Harada has poured heart and sweat all over his Tennessee Rose guitar in such bands as The Spitfires and rockabilly giants DRAGSTRIP 77.
The band’s release Live from Austin, Texas came out mid May 2011 on both CD and vinyl, showcasing a few new songs and fans' old favorites cranked up with that live jumpin’ sound for which the Snakehandlers are so well known. Songs from the CD charted for three months on both the AMA and Texas Third Coast Music charts, and the CD earned the band a 54th Grammy consideration for Best Americana Album. “Risky — and perhaps just a bit risqué — Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers conjure forth all sorts of visions of another time,” said Metro Santa Cruz after a California show. “Rooted firmly in the classic country and rockabilly tradition, the band is an authentic backdrop for lead singer Ruby Dee’s blend of Wanda Jackson sass and Patsy Cline pathos. The band holds it down with the insistence of a chugging train while Dee, a pinup heartbreaker of yesteryear with thoroughly modern attitude, commands the stage.”
For more information visit http://www.rubysjukejoint.com/