RUTHIE FOSTER – Promise Of A Brand New Day

Album: Promise Of A Brand New Day

Artist: Ruthie Foster

Label: Blue Corn Music

Release Date: August 19, 2014

Ruthie Foster 8-19

www.bluecornmusic.com

BY MICHAEL BERICK

On her last album, 2012’s Let It Burn, Ruthie Foster put together an incendiary set of soulful, gospel-fueled music that immediately grabbed the listener’s attention and held it tight for nearly an hour. For her follow-up, Foster didn’t repeat her successful formula, however, even with a new approach, she still creates music that burns with intensity.

While she rooted Let It Burn with well-chosen covers (ranging from the traditional folk tune, “The Titanic” to the Black Keys’ “Everlasting Light.”), Foster fills Promise Of A New Day with a majority of original songs. The result is a more personal album, particularly because the songs feel close to her heart. On “Brand New Key,” she sings – “don’t tell me how to live my life,” which is as good of a way as any to encapsulate this album’s themes of inner strength and empowerment. These inspirational qualities surface all along this album, in tracks like “Learning To Fly,” and “It Might Not Be Right,” which is a passionate plea for tolerance and gay marriage that Foster co-wrote with soul legend William Bell.

Foster’s choice of cover songs (more obscure tunes than the ones on Let It Burn) fit in with the themes of her own songs. Willie King’s stirring Civil Rights anthem “Second Coming” also addresses the power of perseverance, while Staples Singers’ “In The Ghetto” offers a candid look at surviving inner city life. Even the somewhat odd and slightly dated Eugene McDaniels’ “Outlaw” delivers a message of being yourself.

While Foster has a lot to say in this set of songs, she never comes off as being preachy, which is due to a great degree to her gorgeous vocals. Her soulful singing projects such a warmth that she feels totally genuine and real. This is especially true on the disc’s strong first half, which leans towards roadhouse R&B (“Let Me Know”) and sweet soul music (“My Kinda Lover,” “Singing The Blues”).

On the album’s second half, Foster and her producer/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello steer more towards a softer sound (“Learning To Fly,” “New”) that glosses over some of Foster’s grit. Still highlights are easy to find. “Complicated Love” addresses the complexities of a relationship in a quiet yet moving way, while the gospel-fueled “Brand New Day” stands as an inspiring ode to optimism. On the CD cover, a smiling Foster stands tall under a rainbow in a field of bright flowers. Her music on his CD reflects sense of joyfulness and strength that Foster obviously is feeling, and her listeners will share in this joy too.

DOWNLOAD: “It Might Not Be Right,” “Learning to Fly,” “Brand New Day”

 

Leave a Reply