“The truth, according to this remarkable album, is that Ruthie Foster is one of America’s finest soul-blues artists… a full-on blast of soul and blues… The combination of a talented band, powerful songs, and Foster’s roaring gospel-inspired vocals leaves Truth with no weak spots among its dozen tracks. If this one doesn’t elevate Foster to the next level of popularity, it’s impossible to imagine what will.”
Last Sunday Afternoon
When you love music as much as I do, working on a weekly blog certainly has its limitations. There’s so much amazing music (past and present) that I enjoy listening to, I only wish I had time to generate more posts. Last spring one of those releases I heard but never got the opportunity to write about was Ruthie Foster’s album The Truth According to Ruthie Foster. Her energetic spirit and vocal prowess is absolutely wonderful. So when I heard the news of Foster’s Grammy nomination alongside performers such as Susan Tedeschi, Mavis Staples, Robert Cray and Derek Trucks for Best Contemporary Blues Album at this year’s upcoming awards, my interest in this extremely talented artist was rejuvenated.
Since it was unusually warm this past weekend, the atmosphere and good timing gave me an idea to do something that was long overdue…
I walked upstairs and went into the living room. My golden retriever Lucille was curled up basking in a spot on the carpet where the early afternoon sun shined brightly. Noticing I was staring, she nonchalantly glanced up at me with a tranquil gaze as if to say, ”Please tell me today is the day?”
With such a hectic schedule as of late, Lucille hasn’t been getting the exercise she’s used to, and I was determined to make it up to her. With an animated smile, she briskly headed for the front door as I displayed the leash that I was hiding behind my back… With my MP3 player in hand, Foster’s upbeat funky tune “Stone Love,” started to play as Lucille and I began our invigorating walk down the sun drenched avenue.
is originally from Gause, Texas. Raised in a household with gospel roots, she was also exposed to a lot of jazz and blues. Foster always knew music was in her blood, even before her first appearance as a 14 year old soloist in her uncle’s choir. Moving to Waco Texas to attend McClennan Community College, she mixed music classes and audio engineering with visits to clubs at night. In her early teens Foster led a blues band in biker bars and other various settings from Dallas to San Antonio. In the late eighties Foster join the Navy and worked with an ensemble called Pride, where she traveled around at recruitment drives playing funk hits.
Foster moved to New York in 1990 and immersed herself in the folk scene and eventually landed a deal with Atlantic Records. But the label didn’t share her vision of what kind of artist she should be. Family obligations would bring her back to Texas, where she re-connected with her roots and put together a string of new material that would get her work both in a band setting and as a solo artist.
“It didn’t matter to me what genre it was,” she remembers. “I just took it all in as great music – music that moved me.”
In 1997 Foster released the album Full Circle before teaming up with Blue Corn Music, and then released Crossover in 1999, Runaway Soul in 2002, Stages (featuring a series of live tracks) in 2004, Heal Yourself in 2006 and The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster in 2008.
The Truth According to Ruthie Foster
Recorded in Memphis at Ardent Studios with the assistance from players such as guitarist Robben Ford, (The Yellowjackets, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell) well known Memphis keyboardist Jim Dickinson (the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin), organist Charles Hodges (Al Green, Ann Peebles) and the Memphis Horns. This latest release is Ruthie Foster’s most catchy and successful work to date. And with a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album, the truth has never looked brighter.
Later Sunday Night
Most of the tunes featured on this album are influenced by early soul, gospel, funk and R&B. And as I look back with Lucille now contently snoring next to me, it seemed like the stress of everyday life were washed away at least for that moment during our afternoon jaunt… Ruthie Foster’s perspective on music is something that many of my readers have heard me say time and time again. In Ruthie’s words, “Music is a healer. It’s energy. And it goes into everything…”
If you are unfamiliar with Ruthie Foster then I can’t recommend this awesome album enough. It may just end up making your day. It sure did for me and my faithful hound… For more information and concert dates you can go to Ruthie Foster’s website by clicking here.
What do you think? Is Ruthie going to bring home the award on January 31st? Your comments are welcome.
The Blues Blogger