Ruby Force
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Ruby Force

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Folk Rock




"10 New Country Artists You Need to Know"

Ruby Force

Sounds Like: Progressive country with an indie flair, like Jenny Lewis’ twangier cousin

For Fans of: Nikki Lane, Kacey Musgraves, Aubrie Sellers

Why You Should Pay Attention: Ruby Force, otherwise known as singer-songwriter Erin McLaughlin, lives up to her vivid stage name. On her forthcoming debut album Evolutionary War, she paints colorful tales using a broad sonic palette, drawing from country, Americana, rock and indie pop for a sound that lands somewhere between Rilo Kiley and Nikki Lane. While some tracks – the single “Cowboy” – dabble in retro influences, Force’s music is, like Lane’s and Kacey Musgraves’, a glimpse at the promising direction in which left-of-center country music is headed.

She Says: “Evolutionary War is sort of a collection, like a box of photos you find from a certain period of life. It strings together like a narrative essentially, about how I love,” McLaughlin says. “If these songs can find their way into people’s hearts, not to mention playlists, I would feel like I’ve accomplished something of eternal value. It would also be wicked sweet if this record could bring something tangible back home: an audience, some discourse, that daily bread. Then I’d just do it again and again.” - Rolling Stone

"Ruby Force Hits the Road in Video for "Cowboy""

Los Angeles based country/Americana artist Ruby Force is prepping the release of her debut album, Evolutionary War. The 10-song collection features original songs by Ruby Force brainchild Erin McLaughlin, with collaborations with Sean Watkins, Richard Swift, and Elijah Thomson. Ahead of the album’s June 23 release, Force has shared a colorful, road-ready new video for album track “Cowboy.”

“This is my first music video so it was DIY from the ground up, but it was so much fun to get to boss my friends around in a nice way all day,” McLaughlin says. “I got so lucky and had so much fun and I hope I get to make more little movies soon.” - American Songwriter

"Local Music Scene: Erin McLaughlin"

Posted: 01/31/2008 09:59:41 AM PST

Erin McLaughlin and friends filled the Performance Loft space Wednesday, Jan. 23, for the monthly "Music @ the Loft" event.

Loft music coordinator Jeff Wilson was pleasantly surprised by McLaughlin's performance.

"I wasn't quite sure what to expect," Wilson said. "I saw Erin play three songs at open-mic night at the Vault Martini Bar, probably in March or April of 2007. She was accompanied by a woman on cajon and a backup vocalist. That lineup by itself was my expectation."

A folk acoustic musician, McLaughlin began her musical journey as a vocalist.

"I have sung in church bands since I was in high school (nearly 10 years ago now) but didn't really begin to develop my own style until maybe three years ago," she said.

McLaughlin later taught herself the guitar.

"I picked up a guitar about six years ago and mostly taught myself, asking friends how to play this chord or that," she said. Music for McLaughlin is ever evolving.

"Just as I begin to understand myself and my vision, maybe even begin plotting a course for myself, some unexpected turn of events has me flung into a whirlwind of change," she said. "It could have to do with the music, on a very technical level. Or (more often than not) it has to do with life and the totally random unfolding of events both empowering and tragically defeating. Somehow, though, I collect a little inspiration as I go and thus the very practical evolution of my music ensues." Sometimes her music depends on the season, or a phase McLaughlin may be going through.
"I may have a particular season where minor chords are the only honest music I can stand to produce and yet another season may find me writing poppy little love songs about rain clouds and honeybees. I obey my impulses as much as possible in music."

McLaughlin influences are as diverse as her impulses.

"I need a lot of time in nature, the earth in its purity is by and large my greatest influence," she said. "Of course there are a few acclaimed musical artists that have inspired me. I give a lot of credit to Ryan Adams, Ray Lamontagne, Mindy Smith and Feist."

As far as lyrical content goes, McLaughlin writes about real-life experiences: "Lots of heartache with a thread of crimson red hope as strong as life twisted throughout."

In May 2007 McLaughlin lost her little brother, which has greatly affected and influenced her.

"Most of my songs at this state in my song writing career are in some way connected to him."

In terms of success, McLaughlin sees sharing her music with people as a great success.

"I am honored to have the attention of my community, to have their support and interest," she said. "As far as where I dream of going from here I dream of covering as much ground as possible sharing my story and my journey to hope."

Wilson enjoyed McLaughlin's music but was a little nervous that he never saw her again until she came to a Loft event.

"Would she draw? Could she fill a set?" Wilson wondered. "I was astounded by the crowd and the professionalism and the beauty of the music. Both from Erin and Brian Lightfoot."

Lightfoot filled the first half of the set of the Loft performance on Wednesday.

Wilson said he would classify McLaughlin's music as contemporary folk or acoustic pop.

"It's very catchy some of the tunes are still in my noggin from days ago," he said. "Her music broadly reminds me of the Cowboy Junkies, Amy Grant. Although Gentry's tight harmonies are derived Western music, they don't come off as country. Maybe mellow roots rock?"

Wilson said he would gladly have McLaughlin back to perform at the Loft, but said the event is booked through May 2009.

Darcie Flansburg is the Loft's general manager.
- Redlands Daily Facts

"Erin McLaughlin In Indie Rock Reviews"

Erin McLaughlin is bangin’. She’s like a man smoking in a gas station or a fat man eating at a buffet—she’s about to blow up. I recently saw her play at Lestat’s in San Diego’s hip Normal Heights area on August 7th, which has hosted a wide range of local legends and up and coming artists from all over, such as Greg Laswell, Gregory Page, Jason Mraz, Blink 182 and Jewel. As McLaughlin walked on stage in her skin tight black pants, moccasin knee high boots, long shaggy red hair flowing over long skinny arms, she immediately filled the big shoes that were left before her. I got chills. She’s got star power.

McLaughlin headlined the show along with Sean Watkins of Nickelcreek and Fiction Family who harmonized and played a mean backup guitar. Watkins has a Grammy win under his belt for Nickelcreeks’ 2003 “This Side” record which won for Best Contemporary Folk album. He also qualified for the National Flatpicking Championship in 1993 at age 16, thus the conclusion: he’s good at guitar. He played on McLaughlin’s six- song acoustic album, “Something Like a Miracle”, along with Tyler Chester (bass), Aaron Redfield (drums), and Scott and Joel Owen (back-up vocals) from the Pawnshop Kings.

The audience warmed up watching the darling Kelsea Rae Little strumming her harp, tactically decorated in sparkly blue pipe cleaner, singing kooky songs like “You and Me stew” and “Your Garment Life.” She was full of charm and charisma and got everyone in a good mood.

Renata Youngblood came next screaming everything hippy. With no bra, she took a swig of whiskey from her flask after every song. She sings beautifully. She’s just drunk.

After the opening acts, McLaughlin and Watkins commandeered the evening. Her songs are catchy and fun to listen to. She has the confidence of an old pro, but still the charm of a newbie, exemplified when she got too close to the mic and knocked her tooth. She made a quick joke about it and continued. “Marry Me”, she told the audience is her favorite and I’m sure every man there would have been ready, pronto. Some of her songs are upbeat like “Fix”, where she sings about a boy she needs one final fix with, and some are sad like “Blue Bird”, which she wrote about her little brother who passed away in 2007. She is entertaining, interesting, talented, and you can tell, full of drive.

McLaughlin is a rising regular at places like The Hotel Café, House of Blues, and Room 5 in LA and is setting her goals high. She wants to tour with Ryan Adams and is currently shopping for labels. She wants to craft songs that you sing along to, and in her own words: “One day I hope to get everyone to raise their pints and smash them into each other.” And with a sound like Jenny Lewis and looks to rival Zooey Deschanel, the underground world of folky pop is in for a pleasant surprise. -

"Ruby Force Crushes on Her Debut Album"

They say it takes your whole life to write your debut album, and Ruby Force’s Evolutionary War demonstrates a lot of hard work and discipline. She was clearly good and ready when she entered the studio. This album almost feels like “future country” — it’s got twang to spare but feels forward-thinking without playing into cheap gimmicks. It helps that Force’s lyrics have an immediacy that truly make an impact with listeners. We’ve all heard plenty of love songs, breakup songs, kiss-off songs, but Force has such a drive and grounded sense of self that you end up cheering for her throughout the victories and travails depicted in this record.
The band itself is as strong as it comes, though Force’s performance is the main attraction. As straightforward as her lyrics are, her seemingly unshakeable confidence will win you over. It’s the confidence in her voice, her music, and the fact that she’s exactly right where she needs and intends to be that makes Evolutionary War such a standout. What impresses me the most here is that Force wields a diverse emotional palate but doesn’t dissect herself publicly to do so. I wouldn’t describe Evolutionary War as “vulnerable” or “honest” — it’s extremely forthright and remarkable in its ability to do so. - No Depression


LP- Evolutionary War

EP- Songs For Austin

EP- Something Like A Miracle



Erin McLaughlin has been writing her stories to songs for as long as she can recall but never played or sang outside of a church until after the untimely death of her youngest brother in 2007. She says, “There's nothing like true heartbreak to force you into doing everything in a new way”. As it turns out the truest modality Erin felt she could harness to air out her "frequent grapplings with life and its peaks and valleys”, was music. Since then she has compiled a volume of work that tales some of that journey and the hope that she believes remains. She shared her songs in their early stages at open-mic nights and local coffee houses in her hometown of Redlands Ca, working her way into LA playing buzzworthy venues such as The Hotel Cafe, sharing playbills with notable acts like the late Peggy Young, Dena Carter, The Secret Sisters and more. She has showcased at SXSW in Austin TX, Americana Fest in Nashville, Red River Folk Festival in New Mexico and Bandittown in central CA. 

Her first recording, Something Like a Miracle was a six song acoustic EP produced by Tyler Chester featuring Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) released to CD under her given name. She enlisted the help of Eli Thompson to complete her first full-length offering, Evolutionary War which she self-released to critical acclaim under the alias Ruby Force in 2017. The ten-song record features musical contributions from luminaries like the late Richard Swift, Frank Lenz and Aaron Lee Tasjan. She finished a subsequent year of touring with an opening solo set for Ryan Adams at a sold-out Redbutte Garden Amphitheater in Salt Lake City. 

In June 2019 McLaughlin relocated to Nashville TN. After getting settled and surviving a tornado which ripped through her new neighborhood, a pandemic that shut down the city and any prospects for work, a bomb set off five miles from her front door on Christmas morning and finally amassing her own sobriety she sat down to write. In October of 2022 McLaughlin teamed with Dan Knobler for the production of a new batch of songs projected for release, summer of 2023. The offering will bring sonic life to the five years following her last release, surmounting her personal demons and conjuring the courage to be revived.

Meanwhile fans persist in their diligence to get to know her as the lighthearted artist they've come to love. With her homegrown spirit and truly lovely voice, Ruby Force is a name you'll want to remember and a story you won't forget.