Ruthie Foster is another blues legend from Austin. In Austin’s ‘Notes in Time’, she fondly discusses her ties to Austin. Once she moved there she noticed the warmth, friendliness, and kindness of the music community that thrives there. Friends invite friends to play music together and provide encouragement and support for each other. Charity fundraising concerts are common in Austin and often the musicians physically help out when tragedy from natural disasters or hardships strike. It’s no wonder that so many are drawn there.
Ruthie Foster grew up in Gauze, a small town in Texas. She was raised by a single mom, who was a strict disciplinarian. Ruthie’s knowledge of music grew from her church choir days. Her first solo performance was at 14 in the church choir. She absorbed and grew to appreciate any and all kinds of music, gospel, folk, rock, jazz, and blues. This mixture of influences can be heard in the music she plays and writes. One unexpected song that I found by Ruthie Foster is on a video, where she plays her very own version of Black Sabbath’s “War Hogs”. With her bluesy voice accompanied by dobro, she transforms this song into something really special.
After highschool, Ruthie Foster moved to Waco to attend community college, where she studied audio engineering. After forming a blues band and playing numerous bars in Texas, she felt she needed to see the world and broaden her experiences and joined the Navy. Her strict upbringing prepared her for whatever the Navy dished out. While in the Navy her love of music persisted and she even began singing with a Navy band.
Ruthie Foster is well established in the blues world. She has a long list of awards, and accomplishments, which include three Grammy Blues Music Awards and three for best female vocalist. She has traveled and performed all over the world including Cuba. Ruthie Foster has shared the stage with other blues legends such as her good friend Carolyn Wonderland and Bonnie Raitt and collaborated on her latest album, ‘Joy Comes Back’, with the phenomenal Susan Tedeschi Trucks and her husband Derrick. One of my favorite Ruthie Foster songs is an original she wrote and performed at the Kitchener Blues Festival in a video from 2014, “Up Above My Head (I Hear Music in the Air)” . Listen as she effortlessly but skillfully blends gospel, blues, jazz and soul.
Ruthie Foster has also been awarded by the Living Blues Awards, Best Live Performer. Like her friend, Carolyn Wonderland, her charitable work cannot go without mention. After the coastal flood devastated such a vast stretch of the Texas Coastal community, Ruthie Foster participated in a benefit concert with Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, and James Taylor.
Another original by Ruthie Foster is called “Runaway Soul”, from her album ‘Runaway Soul’. Her she performs at the Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 2018.
Ruthie Foster has recorded numerous albums. Her most recent ‘Joy Comes Back’, was recorded in 2017, ‘The Truth According to Ruthie Foster’, and ‘The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster’, and ‘Heal Yourself’, are among others. She has had a long-standing relationship with and records under the Blue Corn Music label.
Ruthie Foster is truly one of a kind, and holds a well founded place among the legendary female blues artists.