Kelly Willis, Ruby Jane lead Music Under the Star series
Kelly Willis came to Austin from Nashville in the late 1980s with a band that broke up within months of the move. From there, her solo career took off. A three-album deal with MCA yielded well-received, yet not-strong-selling efforts, including the Don Was-produced "Kelly Willis."
Since then, Willis has established herself as one of Texas' most beloved musicians, not only for her own work but for her collaborations with husband Bruce Robison. The duo's annual holiday show consistently draws big crowds; they can now be seen at a weekly Tuesday residency at Antone's.
Willis performs today in front of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum to kick off this year's Music Under the Star concert series.
Supporting Willis is Ruby Jane, who released her debut "Celebrity (Empire of Emptiness)" in June. Despite the "debut" label, the 17-year-old has been proving her mettle for years now, wielding her fiddle so well that people frequently use words like "phenom" to describe her musical ability.
Coming on the heels of a carjacking in Houston at the end of last year that left the young musician and her mother scared for their lives and without her gear, Ruby Jane showcases her maturity on "Celebrity," with songs such as "XXVII" feeling like the work of someone with many more years of experience.
Upcoming performances in the Music Under the Star series include Junior Brown with Warren Hood (July 13); Little Joe y La Familia with Conjuntazzo (July 20); and the Gourds with Redd Volkaert Trio (July 27). 6-9 p.m. Free. 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com
Music Under the Star with Kelly Willis and Ruby Jane