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Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers Biography
Who are Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers? More and more music lovers are learning the answer: a locally loved Seattle band that's earning a nationwide following with each and every show it plays of its honest, original music fused with synergy, sugar, sweat and soul. The 5-year-old four-piece combo -- led by vocalist/songwriter Ruby Dee and guitarist Jorge Harada, and supported by Sean Hudson on electric bass, Kipp Crawford on drums and frequent guest artists onstage and in the studio -- plays an Americana that encompasses Northwest alt-country, Texas honky-tonk, Bakersfield country, Memphis rockabilly, Western swing and good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. After almost constant touring for a year and a half, 164 dates on eight tours across America and in Europe, the band's been in the studio again, with producer Conrad Uno, working on its second full-length CD (fourth overall) and aiming for a spring 2008 release. One of Ruby's new songs set for the CD, "Cold Pines & Red Dirt," earned runner-up honors in Songwriter magazine's 2007 competition. Recent dates include playing a gig at The Five Spot with Nash-villains Hillbilly Casino during the 2007 Americana Music Association Conference in Nashville. With a reputation for high-energy shows that precedes it, the band continues to deliver to capacity crowds in clubs and at rodeos, county fairs and festivals such as Seattle's Folklife 2004-2007. Right off the bat, it was voted Best Band in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer People's Picks in 2005 & Best Signed Band in the People's Picks 2006. The music grows on audiences -- a combination of Ruby's singing and songwriting informed by 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 band members' paying tribute to their musical heroes: Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Los Lobos, Stray Cats, Merle Haggard and again, more. Immediately, fans of Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers live shows demanded something to take home, which led to the five-song EP CD, FIVE FOR THE ROAD (released in 2003 and still selling online), and the Uno-produced full-length NORTH OF BAKERSFIELD, which has earned a lot of airplay in the United States, Europe and Australia and charted two tracks, "Who is She?" and "I Remember You," on the European Americana list. The band plans another European tour in January 2008 as well as a swing from Austin to the West Coast in March and a CD release show and radio tour behind the new recording. "Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers make a sweet honky-tonk country racket that's perfect for long road trips, lazy afternoons and jumpin' and jivin' at the corner bar," says NWsource.com. "If you like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, X or any combination thereof, you'll immediately recognize the band as kindred souls. If you don't like those great artists, guess what? You may end up dancing to The Snakehandlers anyway, despite yourself. The band's that good."