A few weeks after being carjacked at gunpoint in Houston, Austin-based musician Ruby Jane Smith and her mom JoBelle are trying to move on. They've got things to look forward to; Ruby Jane's Kickstarter campaign, aiming to raise $10,000 for a new CD has, reached that goal with more than two weeks left to go. The musician and her mom spent a quiet Christmas in Mississippi with JoBelle's parents and are, no doubt, hoping 2012 starts off in a much better way than 2011 wrapped up.
One event they are looking forward to is a Jan. 12 benefit at Antone’s featuring Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, a band the 17-year old fiddler has played with many times. Austin favorites Dale Watson, Bob Schneider and Cowboy & Indian are also lending their talents to help Ruby Jane and her mom recover some of what was lost in the carjacking.
Many friends and fans have been anxious to help the mother and daughter, but JoBelle says they still have a lot to recover.
The Smiths were outside a friend's Houston condo complex after a gig on Dec. 8th when a man held a gun to JoBelle's head. He ordered them out of their vehicle and drove off with their SUV and everything inside. That included tens of thousands of dollars worth of instruments and equipment, including a violin custom made for Ruby Jane, a mandolin and a 12-string guitar. The guitar was recovered a few days later, the SUV a few days after that.
Despite JoBelle's tireless efforts searching dumpsters and pawnshops in Houston, her daughter's prized violin is still missing and nothing else has been recovered. “I'm never gonna give up looking, especially for the fiddle,” JoBelle says.
The two women weren't physically harmed in the incident, but it did leave them shaken. JoBelle says part of what is helping them heal is the outpouring of support from family, friends and the Austin music community. Two benefits have already been held to help raise money to buy instruments and equipment so Ruby Jane can continue to make music. (JoBelle says the Fire Marshall was called to the benefit at Victory Grill earlier this month, because so many people showed up.)
Head on down to Antone's on Jan. 12 to see some of our favorite local acts and show your support for Ruby Jane.