Ruthie Foster, 'The Truth According to Ruthie Foster'
Ruthie Foster The Truth According to Ruthie Foster
Blue Corn Music
ESSENTIAL "Joy on the Other Side"
The pop scene is littered with so many ersatz soul singers these days that when someone with real chops like Ruthie Foster steps up, attention must be paid. This strong, albeit flawed, disc overflows with authenticity. The Austin, Texas-based Foster has assembled an all-star cast including keyboardist Jim Dickinson and guitarist Robben Ford and she shines with guile and heart. Foster wrote 5 of the 11 songs, which rely a bit too much on clichés about overcoming the disappointments of the modern world, a theme that dominates the record. There's an understated cover of "(You Keep Me) Hangin' On" and a deeply affecting reading of Patty Griffin's "When It Don't Come Easy." Unfortunately, the melodic eloquence of that song helps expose some of Foster's writing. Still, the performances show her versatility (the reggae-tinged "I Really Love You") and refusal to overwhelm a lyric with vocal bluster on the blues tunes. Chris Goldsmith's production is living-room immediate, and the playing is crisp throughout. If the truth is in the grooves, Foster hits few false notes. (Out now.)