American blues singer Ruthie Foster descends from a line of strong women. Hailing from Gause, Texas, northeast of Austin, she’s part of a widespread family of gospel singers, and, to this day, when she gets nervous onstage (yes, she still does), she’ll reference her early influences, from “the sisters in the amen corner” to the music she fell in love with. And from houses of worship to houses of blues, Foster is always a rafter-rattler. With a soul-filled voice honed in Texas churches, she can move audiences to tears or ecstasy — sometimes in a single song.
From 2011 to 2013 Foster earned three consecutive Blues Music Awards, plus an Austin Music Award for Best Female Vocalist and a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year. And those are just some highlights of her awards history. She delivered a gorgeous “Angel from Montgomery” with Bonnie Raitt at one of Wavy Gravy’s annual SEVA benefits; then repeated it with her on The Road to Austin, a loving all-star tribute to the now-late Stephen Bruton that made its documentary debut in the 2014 South By Southwest Film Festival. She was nominated for her sixth Blues Music Award for 2016.