The Blue Rubys
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The Blue Rubys

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"The Blue Rubys Three Girls for Every Guy"

March 2008

The Blue Rubys

Three girls for every guy

Of the uncountable thousands of rock 'n' roll bands on the planet, very few have the gender composition of the Blue Rubys: three women and one man. The combination gives the band a kind of collective sexiness that's unusually complex, and they have a diverse collection of onstage motion styles – the exuberant lead vocalist Nicole Marie gets around quite a bit of the front of the stage with her dancing, while Vickie Hinz wields the bass guitar in a graceful way, and the physical forward projection of rock music is centered on lead guitarist Mark Neff.

The Blue Rubys play fun, romantic, straight-ahead rock – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would be a reference point – sometimes drawing on the country and the rockabilly rhythms that made people dance with abandon to rock 'n' roll in the first place. Just as Elvis Presley turned the sentiment of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" into rock forward motion, so the Blue Rubys adapt another bluegrass standard – the Stanley Brothers' "She's More to Be Pitied than Scolded" (which got started, in 1898, as "She Is More to Be Pitied than Censured"), reinterpreting it as a sassy celebration of barroom nights and good times. Mostly their songs are original, and they've got a certified barroom raver in "Come Waste My Time."

Fueled by the snappy drumming of Michelle Donnelly, the band's music is propulsive enough to fill up a dance floor. They drew interested, uninitiated crowds when I saw them recently at the Elbow Room and then again at TC's in Ypsilanti, but there wasn't quite room for the dancers to really do their thing. When the Blue Rubys make their Blind Pig debut on Saturday, March 1, that shouldn't be an issue, and people will definitely be out on the floor. The band is also back at TC's on Saturday, March 15.

But here's the thing – the music has enough subtleties to keep them listening, too. There's almost always some harmony singing happening, and Neff is a guitarist capable of pleasant surprises. The band can move close to modern country or turn toward punk-pop without losing its basic sound, and you get the feeling each individual member is bringing something to the mix. The contrast between Nicole Marie's girl-group vocals and Neff's more full-throated turns in the lead is effective. Several of the musicians have bounced around the local scene for while: Neff (who like Nicole Marie comes from Chelsea) is a veteran of various local rock and country bands, including the Gigantics, and he says his early background was entirely in country music. Hinz was most recently a member of Chrome Mali.

There is, in short, a lot going on when the Blue Rubys play, and they've boiled it all down to a sharp and compact set of moves. And that makes them a new band to watch.

-James M. Manheim - Ann Arbor Observer

"Best of 2008 Readers' Picks -Best Rock Band 2008"

Washtenaw County's Entertainment Source -Current -May 2008
Voted Best Rock Band 2008
- Current


Songs that are currently recorded:
Goodbye Yesterday
Come Waste My Time
Hell Yeah
New One

Goodbye Yesterday has been played on Ann Arbor, MI Radio 107one.

Goodbye Yesterday and Come Waste My Time were both featured on Fox Sports Radio on Monday, March 17, 2008. Foxsports. com/ Click on RADIO.



The Blue Rubys formed out of a long lasting friendship between bass player, Vickie Hinz, and drummer, Michelle Donnelly. Having been friends and former band mates they reconnected in 2007 when they each found themselves without projects. Through mutual friends and family they connected with vocal/guitarist, Mark Neff and vocals, Nicole White. Having rather disparate backgrounds and influences each member brings different influences to the creative process. Vickie is influenced from the 60’s music of the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and the Flying Burrito Brothers to the music of Soul Asylum and Lucinda Williams. Michelle is distinctly influenced by rock/punk from The Clash to Green Day to The Replacements, but counts Levon Helm as her hero and who loves Glen Miller and Frank Sinatra. Mark's background is squarely grounded in heavy bluegrass and country that counts Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakam and Willie Nelson to Waylon Jennings as influences. Nicole is a fan of singer/songwriters and 60s rock from Dusty Springfield to Velvet Underground. The Blue Rubys consider themselves family and they've established a fresh but familiar sound that combines elements of southern rock, bluegrass and country.