Grammy-nominated blues singer and songwriter Ruthie Foster will unleash her fiery song stylings at the Temple Cultural Activities Center Saturday evening.
The Austin-based recording artist’s latest album titles, “Keep It Burning” and “Let It Burn” only hint at the heat she and her trio generate, according to Jane Boone, marketing director for CAC. “Ruthie is just a phenomenal entertainer, a joy to hear,” Boone said. “Everyone here is excited.”
It’s Foster’s second appearance at CAC. “She performed for us in January 2011 and we’re very glad to have her back,” Boone said.
Foster grew up in the Brazos valley in Gause and attended McClennan Community College in Waco. “I’ve got family in the Temple area,” she said, “and I played clubs all over the place.” After a tour in the Navy and time spent in New York, she turned down a record deal to reach back to the “roots” music that shaped her while growing up.
The appeal of the eclectic is evident in the repertoire she selected for her latest CD. Songs made famous by artists as diverse as Adele to Johnny Cash, all remolded by Foster’s musical arrangements, manage to coexist on an album that’s been critically acclaimed — not to mention nominated for a Grammy Award. After Saturday’s concert at CAC, Foster will hit the road again.
“I’ll be in Paris and then (travel) to a huge blues festival in Poland in October,” she said. “The international fans are extremely well-educated about the history of the blues and it’s gratifying to perform for them.” Her slick website and first-class professional management keep Foster and her band, a drummer and bass player, gigging regularly.
Winner of arguably the most prestigious blues honor, the 2013 Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female), her singing has been likened to Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald. A more apt comparison may be the roots-influenced Bonnie Raitt.
What can the audience expect for this Saturday’s show? “Some people call it a set list; I call it an outline of the songs we’ll play,” she said of the two 45-minute segments, separated by an intermission.
“Every show is different; I’ll pull songs from all of my CDs and let the audience energy take me to where I need to go, song-wise.” Foster said she’ll be available for autographs, “sign CDs, shake hands and hug necks” after the show. Laughing, she said, “It’s really like a wedding reception.”