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On Thursday, September 16, 2010, Tuscaloosa will have a rare treat when internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Ruthie Foster will perform at the Bama Theatre in a benefit concert for the Alabama Blues Project.
Ruthie Foster, who hails from Texas, is a dynamic singer/songwriter/performer with a unique mix of folk, soul, blues, gospel and R&B. She has performed from choir lofts to folk bistros and onto stages in Europe and Australia. There’s Southern blues in her groove, rock in her rhythm, a blend of gospel redemption, country poetry and jazz elegance in her singing.
The concert will open with a set featuring the Alabama Blues Project’s intermediate and advanced bands, the latter of which performed in the prestigious International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase in Memphis this year.
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Ruthie Foster is a 2010 Grammy nominee for Best Contemporary Blues Album with her latest release The Truth According to Ruthie Foster and a 2010 Blues Music Award nominee for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year (with two previous nominations for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year). She has been featured on the covers of Blues Revue Magazine and Keyboard Player Magazine, and The Truth According To Ruthie Foster made it to #1 on both XM Radio’s B.B. King’s Bluesville and #1 on Roots Blues Chart this Spring.
Foster has a sound that ignores demographic lines and a charisma that can ignite any audience. Even as a young girl, she took in a variety of music: hymns from her mother, Beatles songs from her guitar teacher, 45s from her truck-driving uncle, old-school country from various country variety shows, and pop songs.
She studied music in Waco at McClennan Community College, and after a while she was fronting a blues band in biker bars and other venues from Dallas to San Antonio. Eventually, Foster joined the Navy, where she was signed up by Pride, a Navy ensemble that played the Top 40 and funk hits of the day at recruitment drives, mainly throughout the Southeastern states.
From there, Foster’s went to New York, where she absorbed more influences by performing at folk venues and collaborating with some of the city’s better songwriters. Supported by a contract with Atlantic Records, she expanded her lyrical and musical range. However, her writing began veering away from commercial pop and drawing instead from the roots that had nourished her personally and artistically in her youth. Foster moved back home to Texas, and since has progressed through five albums.
“Ruthie’s drawn comparisons to Ella and Aretha, but musically neither is really close,” observed the Philadelphia City Paper in one such rave. “What she does have in common with Fitzgerald and Franklin is the irresistible blaze. It’s impossible to look away, even close the eyes, for one second.”
The New York Post says of Foster, “Foster has a deep gritty voice with a little Janis and some Aretha that will please discerning soul and rock fans.” The Austin Chronicle stated, “Foster’s deeply soulful vocals dip into gospel and swing toward contemporary folk with R&B panache. When she sings a cappella, the heavens part.”
Alabama Blues Project
712 25th Avenue
Northport, AL 35476
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