Ruthie to Foster the people

By on January 9, 2013
Ruthie Foster - courtesy JON Carrico
Ruthie Foster - courtesy JON Carrico

Ruthie Foster – courtesy JON Carrico

Jackson Hole, Wyo.-Where has my life been without Ruthie Foster? The 49-year-old, two-time Grammy nominee and four-time Blues Music Awards recipient is often compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin, though I gravitate to her Susan Tedeschi vibe. Like Tedeschi, guitar-wielding Foster belts a soulful blend of gospel and funk to compliment her in-the-pocket R&B.
Foster’s phenomenal 2012 release and seventh album, “Let it Burn,” was just nominated for a Grammy for Best Blues Album, and actually diverges further from the blues than previous efforts—further into her gospel choir roots.

Alongside two new gospel-tinged original tunes adorned by The Blind Boys of Alabama, the album covers a wide range of artists, including The Black Keys’ “Everlasting Light,” The Band’s “It Makes No Difference,” even Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer.”

And who is among the New Orleans studio band? Try B3 master Ike Stubblefield, bassist George Porter, Jr., and drummer Russell Batiste of The Meters. Per the suggestion of producer John Chelew, Foster stepped back from playing guitar and just concentrated on being a vocalist.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen, but knew that I hadn’t written a lot of songs for it,” Foster said from her Austin home. “Chelew stuck out in my mind as someone really different [to work with], and he had a lot of musical influences that he wanted to introduce me to. And I thought, ‘This is great. This will stretch me.’”

Foster will be performing as a trio, with longtime companions bassist Tanya Richardson and drummer Samantha Banks.

Ruthie Foster, 7 p.m., Thursday, at the Center Theater. $20 rear balcony, $25 main balcony and $35 orchestra, available at or 733-4900.

Root Cellar begins the end
Welcome to the Root Cellar—Ben Winship, Thomas Sneed and Tom Marshall—exposing the more obscure side of American folk music, from 1920s and ’30s songs on down to great songwriters of our time like Randy Newman and The Police. The bitter sweetness of the string trio’s first show is also its last (for now), as Marshall will follow the American dream with his new fiancé to Charlottesville, VA.

Root Cellar, 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday Jan. 15 and 16, at Dornan’s in Moose. Tickets are $15, available at Dornan’s and Valley Bookstore. 733-2415.

Teka brings ‘307’
Teka Brock sings of drinkin’ hooch, the touring life, and ragin’ rivers on her new album, “307,” which was released just last month. Based in Sheridan, Brock’s five-piece band has made waves across the state and in the region with a sound that blends classic and modern country with rock and Americana. “307” revisits four of the same songs as her debut album, yet Brock has come into her own as a singer-songwriter, channeling the pure vocals of her influences—Alison Krauss, Sarah McLachlan, Dolly Parton—in genuine, and at times, sassy form.

Teka Brock Band, 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and a 4 p.m. après-ski set on Saturday, at the Mangy Moose. $7 for the night shows.

Mosey into Mosley at the Tav
With just voice, an electric dobro and a stompbox, Brooklyn-based Bret Mosley is prepared to move you with a signature idiosyncratic intensity that grooves the folk and funks the blues. A tireless touring artist, Mosley last rolled through as opener for Jerry Joseph and The Jackmormons around the time he recorded Charge with Joseph and Steve Drizos.

Bret Mosley, 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, at Town Square Tavern. 733-3886.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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