Video Feature & Web-Exclusive Interview


Video: “Singing the Blues” from the new album Live at the Paramount


This Thursday, July 9, Ruthie Foster is the featured artist to launch Blue Rock aLive!—a unique virtual summer concert series—featuring iconic Austin-based artists every Thursday this summer. You can buy a Season Pass for the whole summer series for only $105—and have a seat in the house by sending in your headshot.

Live shows are a way musicians engage with their audience. Blue Rock is a good example of innovation, quality and creativity. They have figured out a way to bring beloved, iconic Austin artists directly to you. Each event is produced in broadcast quality audio-video from Blue Rock’s renowned Texas room—streamed straight to you. When you buy a Season Pass, you send in your headshot—and they place it on the seats. With these headshots, all the Season Pass holders will literally be sitting in the room. So when Foster takes the stage, she will actually see the faces of the people watching her perform.

Ruthie Foster-01 - photo credit Riccardo Piccirillo

Photo credit: Riccardo Piccirillo

We talked with Blue Rock’s Billy Crockett to find out more about this unique concert series: “Things have changed in the culture of artists and performing venues. A lot of artists are broadcasting from their kitchen, but not many are doing it from venues. We have experience doing the professional sound-quality broadcasts. We have tried to come up with ways that our community will also feel like they are really a part of it. The artists’ fans can be engaged and charmed by our approach. Everybody who buys a Season Pass—they send us their headshot, and we print it and put it in a chair.”

Join Blue Rock Studio’s Virtual Concert Series featuring Austin’s own: Ruthie Foster, Matt the Electrician, Tina & Walt Wilkins, David Ramirez, Carrie Rodriguez, Billy Crockett, Danny Schmidt & Carrie Elkin, and Terri Hendrix with Lloyd Maines. For Blue Rock aLIVE! Virtual Concert Series Tickets and Season Passes: All proceeds go directly to the artists and support the Blue Rock team.

We talked with Ruthie Foster about her passion for songwriter, her love for big band, the fascination of capturing a live performance at its finest and what continues to inspire her creative process and keep her hopeful in these unique times.

Ruthie Foster-03 - photo credit Jeff Fasano

Photo credit: Jeff Fasano

RUTHIE FOSTER Interview with M Music & Musicians magazine publisher, Merlin David

Tell us about a song you will play at Blue Rock aLive! Virtual Concert Series starting this Thursday, July 9.
I’ll be playing “Singing the Blues”—one of the five original songs on the 2020 Live at the Paramount album. The song evolved while I was out on tour and knew I needed to start writing for the next CD. I felt like I didn’t have anything new to say, so I started the verse first with “trying to find a new home.” I was house hunting at the time—trying to write a new song, and the rest just made sense. Once I realized that inserting my life as it looked then and there into my music, it actually made writing effortless. I finished the song while on a cruise after seeing Bobby “Blue” Bland play live with his big band. It was so inspiring to watch him with a full ensemble—with horns and a rhythm section.

Ruthie Foster-05 - photo courtesy of Blue Corn Music

Photo courtesy of Blue Corn Music

What did you learn about yourself after you completed Ruthie Foster Big Band Live at the Paramount.
I learned that sometimes it only takes an idea and getting crystal clear about what action to take—then you will witness what some may call the impossible, become possible.

How do you remain hopeful in this strange and unique time?
It is strange and unique indeed. I keep music in my life. I’m listening to great podcasts and music, from my old standby records to being open to new music, even sharing new music. I also have a young person in my life. My 9 year old daughter provides a daily dose of hope for my entire family.

Who originally inspired you to write songs?
There are so many artists I can credit with inspiring me to write. My first exposure to writing was through poetry—and a lot of black female authors. I read a lot as a young person—books by writers such as Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Gwendolyn Brooks were my favorites, and still are. The poetry of these particular women read a lot like songs.

Ruthie Foster-08 - photo credit Mary Keating-Bruton-660

Photo credit: Mary Keating-Bruton

Which Top 5 Musicians inspired you to become a musician?
Sam Cooke, Phoebe Snow, Stevie Wonder, Staple Singers, Roberta Flack.

What are your Top 5 favorite albums of all time?
Greatest Hits (1975) – Al Green
Rickie Lee Jones (1979) – Rickie Lee Jones (the one featuring “Chuck E.’s in Love”)
Songs in the Key of Life (1976) – Stevie Wonder
Donny Hathaway (1971) – Donny Hathaway
Kind of Blue (1959) – Miles Davis

What is the best advice someone has given you?
“Always know your worth, and that you are worthy of all good things.” – Miss Mozelle Smith, my fourth grade teacher.

Tell us a “pinch me” moment when you thought “Wow, this is really happening to me!”
There are so many of those moments. I did a bus tour with Bo Diddley. I opened for him a year before he passed away. We were on the road for two months. You learn a lot from people with so much music history. I was also on the road with Jorma Kaukonen and Robben Ford. I couldn’t believe they both insisted that I play on stage with them. And Bonnie Raitt has called me on stage and each time is so incredible. She is so gracious and encouraging—so powerful on stage. She owns the stage—and gives your permission. It’s a glorious feeling to be in the company of a powerful woman like her.

What’s unique about playing at Blue Rock?
I love going out to their facility. Billy & Dodee Crockett are like family. It’s not only a world-class studio but at their live venue they get a crowd that is open and willing to listen to all genres of music—and that audience is passionate about music. They’ve been doing online concerts for quite a while. When I’ve been on the road, I myself have signed up and paid to watch their shows. The diversity and quality of the music presented there is incomparable. They have given so much to the music community and they continue to give.

Ruthie Foster-02 - photo credit Jeff Fasano

Photo credit: Jeff Fasano

Where can new fans get more info and stay updated?
For Blue Rock aLIVE! Virtual Concert Series Tickets and Season Passes:

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