You are hereMorning Maine Featured Artist of the Week: Ruthie Foster

Morning Maine Featured Artist of the Week: Ruthie Foster


Ruthie Cecelia Foster (born February 10th, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter of blues and folk music. She mixes a palette of American song forms from gospel and blues to jazz, folk and soul, and her performances are “powerfully transfiguring”.  (www.allmusic.com) She has been compared to Bonnie Raitt and Aretha Franklin.

Foster is from Gause, Texas and comes from a family of gospel singers. At the age of fourteen Ruthie was a soloist in her hometown choir and was certain that her future would revolve around music. After high school Ruthie moved to Waco, Texas to attend college, where her studies concentrated in music and audio engineering.  She began fronting a blues band, learning how to command a stage in the bars of Texas.

Hoping

 to travel and gain a perspective, Foster joined the Navy, and her talents had her singing in the band Pride that played pop and funk hits at drives in the United States. Following her tour of duty Ruthie headed to New York City where she became a performer at venues. Atlantic Records got wind of Foster's talent and offered her a deal with the intent of cultivating her as a star but Foster was not interested in a pop career, preferring to explore the strains of American roots music that had informed her childhood. When her mother fell ill in 1993, Foster left New York and her deal, returning to Texas to be with her family. She began working as a camera operator and production assistant at a television station in College Station, Texas while she cared for her mother, who passed in 1996. A year later in 1997 Foster self-released the album Full Circle, the success of which paved the way to a relationship with the record label Blue Corn Music.

Blue Corn released the album Crossover in 1999, Runaway Soul in 2002, and Stages (featuring a series of live tracks) in 2004. Stages marked a point in Foster's career as the experience of a Ruthie Foster show was able to be experienced by an audience. Foster's next release was Heal Yourself in 2006, followed by the studio album The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster in 2008 (produced by Papa Mali), and The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (produced by Grammy-winning producer Chris Goldsmith), recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, in 2009, released by Blue Corn Music.  The Truth According to Ruthie Foster earned Ruthie a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album. A second album of Foster's performances, Live at Antone's (CD and DVD), was released in 2011. In 2012 Ruthie and Blue Corn released the studio album Let It Burn, which featured guests The Blind Boys of AlabamaWilliam Bell and the rhythm section of The Funky Meters (produced by Grammy-award winner John Chelew). Let It Burn earned Foster a Grammy Nomination, this time for Best Blues Album, and was the vehicle for Blues Music Awards won by Foster. Her album Promise of a Brand New Day was released by Blue Corn Music in 2014.

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