Basic Folk 197 – Ruthie Foster

Originally from a small town: Gause, Texas, Ruthie Foster came from a family of gospel singers. Singing gospel music acted as a prime method of communication in her life strongly enough that it ended up being her career. Along the way, Ruthie studied audio engineering in college, which ended up giving her invaluable knowledge to support her artistic expression, especially as a woman in a male dominated field. She quit music for about a year and joined the Navy, wanting to do something other than music. In the Navy, stationed in San Diego, she worked around helicopters, giving her even more of a technical mindset. While in the Navy, she also learned how to be chill AF, thanks to her recruiting officer who led by example and taught Foster and fellow recruits how to relax in their work.

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One aspect of Ruthie’s story that blows my mind is her time in New York City. In the post-Tracy Chapman era, she was swept up and signed by a major label looking for the next Chapman carbon copy. During her years with Atlantic, Ruthie took the time to learn how to be a songwriter and performer, while never recording a single thing. It was a genius move and gave her an invaluable education for a young musician! She moved back to Texas to be with her ailing mother to spend the remaining years of her life together. Ruthie Foster is an impressive artist and person who has learned the lesson of where to be and when to be there. Of her new album Healing Time, she says “There’s always time for healing, if you give it time.” Enjoy!

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  1. Kathi Hall on January 26, 2023 at 10:43 pm

    Excellent interview. Such an interesting artist!