Ruthie, Jorma, Robben & the Truth

The relentless Ruthie Foster will be spreading her “truth” from coast to coast on tour with eminent guitarists Jorma Kaukonen and Robben Ford starting January 30. The tour launches at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA just days before the February 3 release of Ruthie’s new CD The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn Music). On stage, as on her latest CD, Ruthie plans to take things up a notch or two (or three) with her fiery and unmistakable mix of folk, soul, blues, gospel and R&B.

Just as Ruthie blurs the lines between genres, this tour promises to blur the lines between performances. Ruthie, Kaukonen and Ford will each play their own sets, but the shows will feature ample collaboration and cross-pollination – culminating with the three artists on stage together to end each night.

A founding member of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, Kaukonen’s nearly 35-year solo career has spanned everything from rock and blues to folk and bluegrass. His upcoming CD River Of Time, out February 10 on Red House Records, brings together Jorma’s longtime friends and collaborators Barry Mitterhoff on mandolin, tenor banjo, tenor guitar, and octave mandolin) and Myron Hart (vocals and stand-up bass), and Levon Helm on drums, Lincoln Schleifer on bass, and vocalist Teresa Campbell.

Ford, meanwhile, is a four-time Grammy nominee with a list of credits as impressive as it is extensive – as a solo artist and member of the Yellowjackets, and in sessions and tours with the likes of George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, and Charlie Musselwhite, to name just a few. He knows a thing or two about Truth – his own 2007 CD by that name topped the Billboard blues charts and earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

In the studio, Ford also joined the cast of stellar musicians (including keyboardist Jim Dickinson, organist Charles Hodges, bassist Larry Fulcher, drummer Rock Deadrick, trumpeter Wayne Jackson and the Memphis Horns) who helped bring The Truth According to Ruthie Foster to life. Lending searing blues licks throughout, Ford’s lacerating guitar intro to “Truth!” sets up Ruthie’s most succinct summary of the album’s essential message: “Truth is right where you are.” That truth is found amidst an avalanche of emotions, as Ruthie fearlessly tackles life’s big issues throughout her sizzling new album.

Following the path of critical acclaim and artistic triumph blazed by her audaciously and appropriately titled 2007 breakthrough The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster, Ruthie’s Truth springs to life with a jaunty ‘70s vibe on the “Stone Love.” From there, Ruthie paints with all the vivid colors on her palette:  Yearning desire amid a bouncy reggae beat on “I Really Love You,” heartbreak in the lyrics of the Patty Griffin tune “When It Don’t Come Easy,” funky horns on another track that Ruthie wrote, “Dues Paid In Full,” the raw punch of “Nickel and a Nail,” and the deep-felt blues of “Tears of Pain.”

Before hitting the road with Jorma Kaukonen and Robben Ford, Ruthie can be found on stage at this year’s 20th Anniversary Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam. The two-day event, held December 12 and 13 at the Asheville Civic Center in Asheville, NC, includes a long list of artists including the Allman Brothers Band, Steve Earle, the Derek Trucks Band, and many more.

Ruthie’s 2009 tour dates with Jorma Kaukonen and Robben Ford are as follows:

Fri., 1/30          Pittsfield, MA             The Colonial Theatre

Sat., 1/31        New London, CT      The Garde Theatre

Mon., 2/2       New York, NY                        B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Wed., 2/4       Morristown, NJ         Community Theatre @ The Mayo Center

Thu., 2/5          Englewood, NJ         Bergen Performing Arts Center

Fri., 2/6            Harrisburg, PA           Sunoco Performance Theatre

Sat., 2/7          Stamford, CT              Palace Theatre

Sun., 2/8         Poughkeepsie, NY    Bardavon 1869 Opera House

Mon., 2/9       Pamona, NJ              Stockton Performing Arts Center

Tue., 2/10       Virginia Beach, VA  Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

Thu., 2/12        Wilmington, DE         Grand Opera House

Fri., 2/13          Charlottesville, VA   Paramount Theater Auditorium

Sat., 2/14        Greensboro, NC      Carolina Theatre of Greensboro

Sun., 2/15       Atlanta, GA               Variety Playhouse

Tue., 2/17       Durham, NC              Carolina Theatre

Wed., 2/18     Fall Church, VA        State Theatre

Thu., 2/19        Newark, OH              Midland Theatre

Fri., 2/20          Clinton Township, MI           Macomb Center

Sat., 2/21        Glen Ellyn, IL              College of Du Page Arts Center

Sun., 2/22       Grayslake, IL             James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts

Tue., 2/24       Avon, CO                  Vilar Center for the Arts

Wed., 2/25     Aspen, CO                Wheeler Opera House

Thu., 2/26        Monterey, CA          Golden State Theatre

Fri., 2/27          San Rafael, CA         Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium

Sat., 2/28        Redding, CA             Cascade Theatre

Sun., 3/1         Portland, OR             Aladdin Theater

Tue., 3/3         Arcata, CA                Van Duzer Theatre

Wed., 3/4       Davis, CA                  Jackson Hall – Mondavi Center for the Arts

Fri., 3/6            Olympia, WA             The Washington Center

Sat., 3/7          Bellingham, WA        Mount Baker Theatre

Sun., 3/8         Seattle, WA               The Triple Door