BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Ruthie Foster is on a roll. Her 2009 breakthrough, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster and its 2012 follow-up, Let It Burn, garnered Grammy nods for best album of the year in the blues category. Promise of a Brand New Day, the album that came after, rode that momentum and became her most successful album yet.
It would seem then that Foster has good reason to name her new album Joy Comes Back, because, if anything, it finds her expanding her palette while resulting in her most diverse offering yet. From tender, tearful ballads — “What Are You Listening To?,” “Forgiven,” “Open Sky,” and “Good Sailor” — to a stirring take on Stevie Wonder’s Motown classic “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever,” Foster’s soulful vocals raise the bar and ensure an instant embrace. Likewise, Foster’s full of surprises; who would have imagined that a take on — of all things — Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” would work so well?
Foster shares the credit for this accomplishment with an all star cast that includes guitarist Derek Trucks, bassist Willie Weeks and fiddler Warren Hood, but it’s her own ambitious intent that sets the standard. Little wonder than that the song “Working Woman” serves as an apt mantra. Joy Comes Back indeed! Then again, it never really went away.
DOWNLOAD: “War Pigs,” “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever,” “Forgiven”