Music Reviews

posted: March 16, 2009

Ruthie’s Latest Truth The Truth According To Ruthie Foster

Blue Corn Music CD
Ruthie’s Latest Truth

I was lucky enough to see this big-hearted, charismatic blues guitarist and singer steal the show from Jorma Kaukonen and Robben Ford at the Guitar Blues Tour shortly before hearing her new album, and was instantly won over with her humor, honesty and raw sex appeal. It’s not even fair to call Ruthie Foster a blues singer since her music is so full of joy and hope, but she definitely knows her way around a resonator guitar and a slide. On The Truth According to Ruthie Foster, this Texan force majeure accepts the challenge to heal during troubled times, and she mostly succeeds.

Backed by a potent band that includes Ford on electric guitar, Jim Dickinson on keyboards, Larry Fulcher on bass and Rock Deadrick (what a great name!) on drums, Foster comforts the downtrodden and testifies to the powers of love with her own compositions such as “Joy on the Other Side” and “Truth!” while providing new life to covers such as Patty Griffin’s “When It Don’t Come Easy” and a reggae version of King Floyd’s “I Really Love You.”

Unfortunately, most of the songs feel a bit restrained after seeing her perform live. This is a woman who has to take a couple of steps back from the mic so that she won’t peg the meters, and she might have taken one step too many in the studio. As good as this album is, it might have been even better if producer Chris Goldsmith had removed the cuffs. The truth is, Ruthie can connect with an audience like few performers can, and I would have liked to have more of that magic captured here.

–Marc Phillips