Ruthie Foster : Let It Burn

If you are not spiritually uplifted after the first three minutes of Ruthie Foster’s Let it Burn, there may be no hope for your wandering soul.

Ruthie, a revered voice amongst musicians, has yet to fully receive the recognition she deserves. This album may be her long-overdue vehicle to broader appreciation.

“Welcome Home” greets listeners like the embrace of a mother’s arms; beautiful harmonies warm the energy and show that Foster can belt it out with the best of them.  She is joined on the track by the Blind Boys of Alabama, who resurface throughout the album. Iconic soul man William Bell joins for a soulful take on his “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” a track that also allows organist Ike Stubblefield and sax man James Rivers to let loose and – along with George Porter Jr., Russell Batiste, and Dave Easley – flaunt some of this backing band’s dynamic playing. The recreation of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” is mind-blowing, and it is given new life filled with swagger and tasteful respect for the original.  Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer” gets a perfect makeover with tons of attitude, transporting listeners to a smoke filled-club.

Let It Burn is full of choice covers – like Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” Los Lobos’ “This Time,” and Robbie Robertson’s “It Makes No Difference” – but the best performances emerge in Foster’s originals. “Aim for the Heart” is a  groove-heavy track with mean blues guitar licks, a driving backbone from Porter and Batiste, and Foster leading the charge with vocals drenched in soul.

There is no question that Ruthie Foster has supreme talent, and this album is deserving of breakout success. Pop Let It Burn in your stereo, have a taste, and share it with your friends.

Let It Burn is out now on Blue Corn Music.