Ruthie Foster possesses a soul-filled voice honed in Texas churches, which can move an audience to tears in a single song. Her last two albums, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (2009) and Let it Burn 2012), received ‘Grammy’ nominations.
For her most recent disc, titled Promise of a Brand New Day, Foster put Meshell Ndegeocello in charge as her producer, who then took a step back, letting the lauded singer & bassist call the shots regarding accompanying musicians, takes and mixing.
Promise of a Brand New Day includes seven songs written or co-written by Foster, “most of them ‘songs with messages’, because that’s important to what I do,” Foster explains. “Maybe that’s from growing up with people like Mavis Staples and a lot of strong women who have come before me, who are great singers but also have a message. They give you something; they say something.”
But unlike Foster’s previous releases, Promise of a Brand New Day is not covers-oriented, nor is it a gospel album. From “Singing the Blues” to “Brand New Day”, she produces one powerful track after another, but in “Complicated Love”, a relationship ballad, things got more personal.
“It’s definitely goin’ deep, a lot deeper for me than I have gone on my previous records,” says Foster. “I had a couple of friends around me who were just having a really difficult time. If I can’t use my own life, I go and borrow somebody else’s for about three-and-a-half minutes,” she says with a laugh. Another friend’s relationship inspired “Learning to Fly,” a mid-tempo piano ballad with a pop feel.
From 2011 to 2013 she earned three consecutive Blues Music Awards, plus an Austin Music Award for Best Female Vocalist and a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year.
In the last few years, she’s also toured and recorded with Warren Haynes and sang on an episode of the TV series ‘Revolution’. Such accolades and appearances reinforce the fact that Foster is a blues-world rarity with a truly original voice.
“Ruthie’s voice is such a singular, powerful instrument, and she has such mastery of it,” Ndegeocello notes. “She can turn it on, belt it out and bring you to your knees, all in an instant.”
Ruthie Foster – guitar and vocals
Samantha Banks – drums
Larry Fulcher – bass
Hadden Binion – guitar