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The Phenomenal ‘ Ruthie Foster


Ruthie Foster hails from that hotbed of American music; Austin, Texas. She is old school, old school soul in a world that bandies that word around all too freely and often undeservingly. The Phenomenal is Ruthie’s fifth album (although her previous albums have only just become locally available in this country) and a true gospel album in the way early Aretha Franklin was gospel. To listen to the a cappella People Grinnin’ in Your Face is to know what the power of the Lord may well feel like if she actually exists (and we all know she must be black); while her version of Lucinda Williams’ Fruits of My Labor is a perfect union of country and gospel. Ruthie has a depth and truth in her voice that separates those who know who they are from the pretenders. Touring this month, Ruthie Foster is guaranteed to put a knowing smile on your face.

*** ½