Songbird comes back to her roots

Jess Ribeiro and The Bone Collectors will be travelling back to Armidale to play with the USA’s Charlie Parr at The Armidale Club on January 21.

Jess Ribeiro doesn’t know how to be bored.

Her music career is flourishing, she’s teaching this term at The Armidale Waldorf School and as soon as the school holidays start she’ll be off again – touring the country with her band The Bone Collectors.

Since moving to Darwin in 2006, Jess’s musical journey has gone from strength to strength. Good luck with flatmates led to the formation of the band with Rob Law and the pair quickly established themselves as a sound to be reckoned with.

“Rob and I instantly got along and both liked each other’s style of playing,” Jess said. “Working with him is easy because we both really like making music together.”

The name The Bone Collectors comes from the story of an ancient being who wanders the earth collecting bones and singing them back into creation, a sentiment that is echoed in the simple beauty of Jess’s songs.

Picked in the top 20 of Triple J Unearthed ‘next crop’ artists in 2008, the band is now on rotation on the ABC’s youth radio station, especially with the release of the new demo single ‘Robin was a Goth’. However, Jess attributes her band’s success to touring, not radio coverage.

“We tour in a lot of remote places around Australia where the people would never listen to stations like Triple J, so I think touring and live performance has contributed more to people listening and buying our music,” Jess said.

“We toured through central Australia this year and, surprisingly, everywhere we went was packed out. The audiences were just very hungry and enthusiastic about live music playing in their town. 

“We usually have the same experience whenever we play outside most cities in Australia: people remember you from their town and when they visit a city where you are playing they come to the shows.”

During the past few years Jess Ribeiro and The Bone Collectors have been on the same line-up as artists such as Paul Kelly, Kate Miller-Heidke and Darren Hanlon, but these aren’t the only fellow Aussie rockers who have helped Jess on her career.

“In 2009 I participated in the JB Seed, John Butler’s Music Management mentorship which emerging artists and music managers from Armidale should definitely look into,” Jess said.

“It was five days of intensive workshops with people of all areas of the music industry and the best thing was making new friendships with people from all across Australia.”

This year has been busy with festivals in Darwin, Alice Springs, Perth, and Melbourne   while negotiating a label and distribution contract for the album, which Jess says they are hoping to release mid-2011.

“The date keeps being put back, but we’re really keen to see everything sorted by the end of May,” she said.

This summer is set to be just as frantic, with the music festival season in full swing by the time school holidays roll around.

“I’m excited to be doing some more shows around the place with the band, it’s always a great adventure,” Jess said.

The touring will start with the Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland from December 27 to January 2. At Woodford, Jess will join the likes of Arrested Development, The Cat Empire, You Am I and Tim Freedman of The Whitlams.

“Being on the same line up as big acts is inspiring. You get to watch and learn from their brilliance and sometimes chat to them and hang out before or after a show,” Jess said.

“I’m so excited to go back to Woodford as a performer.  The last time I went to Woodford I decided not to return again until I was performing and now my wish has come true so I am delighted.”

Jess Ribeiro and the Bone Collectors will play five shows on five different stages throughout the festival. This includes featuring in a new art and music project ‘Trailer Trash’, which features international and national guest performers from all realms of theatre, music and art, jumping in to create new art-scapes.

“The Trailer Trash project sounds exciting, I have no idea what we will be doing yet and whom we will be doing it with,” Jess said.

“Hopefully there will be lots of colourful folk to play with us like the hairiest man in the world, some dancing girls, maybe the smallest woman in the world . . . I don’t know what’s going to happen but its going to be a great mash up of music, theatre and art.”

After gigs along the coast, Jess will be home briefly when the band joins the USA’s Charlie Parr at the Armidale Club on January 19.

“This will be the first time I bring a member of the band home with me to play in Armidale so that’s something new and refreshing for everyone,” Jess said.

“I hope we can get lots of people to the show because we’ll be supporting Charlie Parr, a really captivating one-man act who recently supported Paul Kelly around the country.

“He plays the lap steel guitar and sings about outlaws and bushrangers like Ned Kelly and Jesse James. Once he starts playing you are instantly transported to another time and place.”

From Armidale, Jess Ribeiro and The Bone Collectors will play in Sydney and Adelaide before recording in an old church in Gippsland with Greg Walker, who most recently worked on Gotye’s latest album.

Wherever 2011 takes the band, you can be sure Jess Ribeiro will continue across Australia singing songs, telling stories and mending tired bones.


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