For Ruby Boots (aka Bex Chilcott) and other Australians living in Nashville, the recent ongoing brushfires in their native country have been for more than just tragic headlines. “The catastrophe has been enormous,” Chilcott says. “As Australians, we have really strong communities back at home and we keep that sense of community when we leave. The fires have wiped out whole species, but the tragedy is continuing even after the fires have been put out. The land is dead, and the wildlife is now facing death from starvation because there’s nothing to feed them.”
The scale and urgency of the disaster had prompted Australians around the world to unite for relief efforts. On Saturday, Feb. 1, Nashville’s Aussie music community, friends, and the Americana Music Association will present Come Together: An Australian Brushfire Fundraiser at the Mercy Lounge.
With over 29,700 square miles of Australia’s forested areas in the more densely populated areas in southern Australia completely devastated (an area equal to 70 percent of Tennessee), huge areas still burning, and at least 33 people and an estimated over one billion animals dead, it’s vital that relief effort continue and even escalate. “People are asking me, ‘Will they have them under control soon?’ but we’re still in peak summer fire season back at home,” Chilcott says. “They’re doing everything they can but it’s not over. It’s going to take decades upon decades for the land to recover, and many species never will.”
As frustrating and overwhelming as the disaster is, Chilcott says it’s heartening to see the level of support they’ve received since she and fellow Aussie Jordie Lane announced the benefit. “Jordie and Liz Stringer organized two benefit shows back home in Melbourne, and one in L.A. When Jordie contacted me about one in Nashville, I pulled the line-up together in less than 24 hours. We’ve received so much support. Third Man is donating some really rare stuff from the Vault for auction. We’re running a silent auction for a day in the studio with Aaron Lee Tasjan producing at Magnetic Sound Studio and the bids keep coming in. We received a donation of 500 custom printed t-shirts that we’ll continue to sell after the event. Even if you can’t make it to the show just buying a ticket for a friend is a simple way to help.”
The line-up for the show will include Ruby Boots, Langhorne Slim, Nicole Atkins, Becca Mancari, Erin Rae, Andrew Combs, Emma Swift, Jordie Lane & Clare Reynolds, Mary Gauthier, Liz Stringer, Molly Parden, Steve Poltz, The Winnie Blues, Freddy & Francine, Josh Rennie-Hynes and more. The show will be hosted by Australian comedian and puppeteer Randy Feltface with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross and Wildlife Victoria. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Come Together event site.