Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers are back in the recording studio for their forthcoming album Black Little Heart, with Cris Burns (Rosie Flores, Asleep At The Wheel, The Mavericks) at the helm at Dale Watson's Ameripolitan Studios. The new record is slated to be released this summer.
The record heralds a landmark comeback for Ruby Dee, who bounced back from a brain injury she sustained eight years ago. She began therapy by writing southern recipes which were eventually collected into Ruby's Juke Joint Americana Cookbook. Eventually her songwriting prowess returned, and the new record will contain twelve original songs written by Ruby, in addition to a cover of the Jack Scott song "The Way I Walk," made famous by The Cramps.
The unique sound of the band stems from Ruby Dee's singing and songwriting, a blend of honky-tonk, swing, and rockabilly that reflects her childhood spent in the foothills of Northern California and Big Spring, Texas. She is complemented perfectly by Jorge Harada's elaborate guitar work, who had ample opportunity to practice his playful style with The Spitfires and Dragstrip 77.
The band's last recording Live From Austin, released in May 2011, garnered them plenty of praise, among them a 54th Grammy consideration for Best Americana Album. Metro Santa Cruz reviewed their show favorably, calling enigmatic lead singer Ruby Dee a "blend of Wanda Jackson sass and Patsy Cline pathos" and commenting "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."