I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
“Let It Burn” is silky-smooth and radiantly clean from start (Welcome Home (with Blind Boys of Alabama)) to finish (Don't Get Too Comfortable (with William Bell)). The latter listed as a bonus track.
Her aptitude for song is so internally powerful, adding to the equation of me struggling to understand why exactly “Ruthie Foster” is not a household name. Everything she does literally comes from way down deep from within her heart and soul!
I should first explain; in the households I frequent, her name is a constant resident, but why she is not mentioned in every single household around the globe, is far beyond my comprehension!
Voices like Ms. Foster’s usually garner a much wider praise. In fact, I would put her voice up against just about anyone. The upside to all of this is that I am certain Ms. Foster is quite comfortable with her role in the entertainment world.
I believe Ms. Foster is fond of keeping it small and intimate. I would suspect that is why she enjoys playing the folk festival circuit so much of the time. Please don’t misunderstand. I am elated she keeps it small and unobtrusive. It allows people like me and others deeply entrenched into the middle class to continue to go see her. She is truly an amazing talent who needs witnessing by all, and I am selfishly pleased she keeps it simple.
“Let it Burn” is another story all together. It is huge! She has taken tunes from artists like the Black Keys, Adele, Johnny Cash, Los Lobos, The Band and Pete Seeger, amongst others, and has made them all her own. Just listen to her sing William Bell’s “You Don't Miss Your Water” (with Mr. Bell) or Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and then tell me these are not Ruthie Foster songs!
She pays tribute to these artists by re-working the songs into something spanking new so as not to insult the originators of the tunes. If you didn’t know better, and the tunes were not already extremely famous, you would believe them to be brand new.
Just look at this record and see who she performs with - Blind Boys of Alabama, the legendary William Bell, bassist George Porter Jr., drummer Russell Batiste, guitarist Dave Easley, saxophonist James Rivers, all communally permeate each tune with that New Orleans-bred sound.
In addition, Hammond B3 master Ike Stubblefield, who has toured and recorded with performers with the stature of Curtis Mayfield and Eric Clapton, adds an ostentatious style to just about every tune on the record. Ah yes, Ms. Foster is well known and extremely respected amongst her peers. How else could an artist entice such a strong back-up band to accompany her on this venture?
“Let It Burn” was produced by Grammy Award-winner, John Chelew, who suggested she record the album in The Crescent City at the famous Piety Street Studios.
I could go on forever writing about this incredible album. Instead, I will simply recommend you go buy it the very moment it hits the streets. I will say this, it is about as perfect a recording as one could ever hope to accomplish! Why shouldn’t it be? It possesses the name, Ruthie Foster!
‘Rebel’ Rod says to check it out.