There has always been a close connection between the gospel music of the church and the blues of the Southern Delta. Ruthie Foster fuses those two styles with her brand of passionate and energetic vocals.
Her two previous albums, The Truth According To Ruthie Foster and Let It Burn were both nominated for Grammy Awards in the Best Blues Album Category. Her new album, Promise of A Brand New Day, will be released August 19th.
Her music can best me compared to that of a modernized Staple Singers but with a little more straight-forward power in the vocals. Whether cover songs or one of her seven originals, they carry strong and relevant messages that she conveys with the strength of her voice.
She returns to her roots with a cover of the Staple Singers “The Ghetto.” The song begins as a sultry electric guitar blues ballad and builds with an increasing intensity. “Second Coming” is an Odetta type civil-rights protest song. A simple melody and acoustic guitar allow her voice to soar.
Her own composition “Singing The Blues,” which is the albums lead track, is a soulful trip though the old world of rhythm and blues. Simple is many times best as her a cappella version of “Brand New Day” demonstrates. “It Might Not Be Right,” a tune she wrote with William Bell, is her type of message song as it deals with the issue of gay marriage.
She has surrounded herself with a capable band consisting of bassist/producer Meshell Ndegeocello, guitarist Chris Bruce, drummer Ivan Edwards, and keyboardist Jebin Bruni. Also on hand are guest vocalist Toshi Reagon and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II.
Ruthie Foster has continued her tradition of releasing powerful and relevant gospel and blues albums. Promise Of A Brand New Day is music is from the heart, the pulpit, and the soul. It is music for today that draws on the traditions of the past.