Salmon Arm Observer
The 2019 Roots and Blues Festival lineup is hitting another high note with the announcement of Ruthie Foster, an American singer-songwriter of blues and folk music.
“She’s the best female blues artist next to Bonnie Raitt,” raves artistic director Peter North. “She also works from a pretty broad palette like Raitt.”
North says Foster is a great singer songwriter, who mixes a variety of American song forms – from gospel and blues to jazz, folk and soul. She has also often been compared to Aretha Franklin.
“Kelly Moores went to Austin early in the new year and saw her with a 17-piece band,” North says of former Salmon Arm Folk Music Society board member. “I trusted his taste; he’s been following her for many years and he said she’s taken her show to a whole new level.”
Described by Rolling Stone as “pure magic to watch and hear,” Foster’s vocal talent was honed in worship services at her community church. Drawing influence from legendary acts, she developed a unique sound unable to be contained within a single genre.
That uniqueness echoes a common theme in Foster’s life and career – marching to the beat of her own drum.
Foster’s love of performing became apparent when she joined the navy and sung with its band, Pride. After leaving the service, she signed a development deal with Atlantic Records and moved to New York City to pursue a career as a professional musician.
But when her style and goals did not meet those of the record label that wanted to turn her into a pop diva, she walked away from the deal.
Back in Texas, Foster solidified her place as an up-and-coming singer/songwriter and began a musical partnership with Blue Corn Music. Her studio albums for the label began with Runaway Soul in 2002, followed by The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster in 2007, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster in 2009, Let It Burn in 2012 and Promise of a Brand New Day in 2014.
Foster’s latest album, Joy Comes Back, was recorded during a time of personal loss and heartache.
Music was her therapy and the 10 tracks, nine of which are by a diverse array of writers ranging from Mississippi’s John Hurt to Chris Stapleton to Black Sabbath.
On Feb. 27, Foster was inducted into the Austin Music Awards’ Texas Music Hall of Fame and has been nominated for another Blues Foundation Koko Taylor award for best traditional blues female artist.
North says Foster will perform an 80-minute set on the main stage and will collaborate in a workshop with The Hamiltones, a group he describes as an “astoundingly great band that has dazzled audiences from Africa to Australia and beyond.”