Funny thing happened to us when we showed up to cover a gig recently in Tomball, Texas. The show was advertised as Ruthie Foster and the Family Wash Band, but when she strolled out by her lonesome we were a bit taken a back. Luckily, Foster has a phenomenal voice and enough stage presence to carry a show on her own, especially at a sold out show at this killer venue north west of Houston.
Ruthie was raised in the proud version of gospel music and she can say “amen” with the best of them in more ways than one. Her soaring voice opened the show with “Brand New Day” off her most recent release “Promise of a Brand-New Day” which she reminded the crowd that it garnered her a third Grammy nomination. It is full of inspiring lyrics culled from advice from her grandmama who always told her to do her best. Best is what RF does as in telling stories about her songs and life with her knock ya out grin and easy going nature that makes one feel like she’s playing only for you even though it is a packed house.
Foster showed off her variety of talents blending soul, blues, rock, folk and, of course, gospel to the night’s selections. “Singing The Blues” tore it up and she reminded the audience that she rides on a Blues Cruise every February and October and many in the joint hooted that they’d been there. Covering major artists is another thing she does well as in Lucinda Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor” where she said she added “a little Otis Redding, Sam Cook, and a lil bit of her sprinkled in” and Patty Griffin’s “When It Don’t Come Easy” done passionately. She also rolled out Johnny Cash’s classice “Ring of Fire” done in an off the wall higher range that impressed Roseanne Cash enough to evoke it as “the 2nd best version”!
Foster strapped on her shiny guitar “Jesse May named after Jesse May Hemfield,” that she secured at Kerrville Music Fest by “slobbering all over it” so nobody else would get it. Classic. On it, she did Mississippi Judd Heart’s “Blow Your Horn”. Ruthie’s list of achievements include Best Female Vocalist in 2007, 2008 and 2013 from the Austin Music Awards and recent Blues Music Award wins for Best Contemporary and Best Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year to go along with the Grammy nods. Other note worthy songs included her own “Small Town Blues” about playing small bars in College Station, Terri Hendrix’s “Hole In My Pocket”, and one penned with the Blind Boys of Alabama “Welcome Home”. Foster’s tales about old timey things growing up when life was simple and peaceful that today’s millenials have no clue about were heart warming cool. Things like S&H green stamps, Avon and Tupperware partys and playing out in the yard. Girl can definitely work a crowd and closed to a standing ovation for “Don’t Fight the Feeling’ and “Didn’t You Mind People Grinnin’ In Your Face”.
Catch her anywhere you can because it is an amazing and intimate feeling you won’t soon forget.
Speaking about not soon forgetting, Main Street Crossing is definitely on HMR’s radar. The fine folks out in Tomball were most courteous and helpful upon our arrival. Hats off big time to General manager Matt Davis, Rick Davis who provided HMR with a stud table for the gig, and Lisa Schneider who made it possible for us to walk in the door period. They have a revamped and super acoustic listening room going on with a wait staff who buzz around like bees looking for the lil “burning candle lights” on your table when ya need food or drink! The line-up of top notch talent coming in the months ahead feature the likes of Hayes Carll, Shinyribs and Paul Thorn to name a few. Jump on : http://mainstreetcrossing.com and grab you some tickets because judging by this evening’s event they sell a lot of tics in advance for sure! God Bless folks bringing live music to the masses…