Sultry rockabilly sweetheart Ruby Dee and her band of Snakehandlers are one of a small handful of unadulterated country acts Seattle- a city that never was known for its booming country scene- can proudly call its own. Well, at least for another few months: Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers are packing up and moving to Austin at the end of the year. Which is a real shame, because their new album, Miles From Home, is one twangy gem right after the other, from rollicking rockabilly numbers to soulful ballads about (what else?) love lost. Were it released in the early '70s, when artists like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette dominated the country music charts, I'm confident Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers could have stepped right up and joined their ranks- though of all the female Country Music Hall of Famers, Ruby Dee's timeless, tremulous vocals best resemble those of a young Dolly Parton. Unfortunately, the honky tonk twang that made me fall in love with country music in the first place has fallen out of favor in the mainstream, but, at least as far as I'm concerned, crap peddlers like Carrie Underwood have got nothing on real artists like Ruby Dee. Plus, if we all try very hard to attend all of Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers upcoming Seattle shows, maybe we can convince her to stay here. Come on, Ruby: like Austin really needs another country band?!
Sat., Aug. 2, 9 p.m., 2008