March 4, 2023 at 8:00 pm
In the tightknit musical community of Austin, Texas, it’s tough to get away with posturing. You either bring it, or you don’t. If you do, word gets around. And one day, you find yourself duetting with Bonnie Raitt, or standing onstage with the Allman and trading verses with Susan Tedeschi. You might even wind up getting nominated for a Best Blues Album Grammy — three times in a row. And those nominations would be in addition to your seven Blues Music Awards, three Austin Music Awards, the Grand Prix du Disque award from the Académie Charles-Cros in France, a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year, and the title of an “inspiring American Artist” as a United States Artists 2018 Fellow.
There’s only one Austinite with that résumé: Ruthie Foster. Drawing influence from legendary acts like Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin, Foster developed a unique sound unable to be contained within a single genre. That uniqueness echoes a common theme in Ruthie’s life and career – marching to the beat of her own drum.
Joining the Navy was one way for Ruthie to stake out her own path. It was during her time singing for the Navy band Pride that her love for performing became apparent. Eventually returning to Texas, Ruthie solidified her place as an up-and-coming singer/songwriter and began a musical partnership with Blue Corn Music, releasing seven studio albums and a live-performance CD/DVD between 2002 and 2017.
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Ruthie’s eighth and most recent album “Live at the Paramount” (2020) swings back to the days (and nights) when Lady Ella sang Ellington and Sinatra blasted off with Count Basie and Quincy Jones. As Ruthie wraps her impeccably nuanced voice around each song, the wisdom of her selections, the strength of each arrangement, their near-seamless flow and the outstanding talent of her band converge into yet another reminder that Foster’s artistry really is in a league of its own.