RUTHIE FOSTER: LIVE AT ANTONE'S (Fuse DVD)

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Ruthie Foster: Up Above My Head
RUTHIE FOSTER: LIVE AT ANTONE'S (Fuse DVD)

Many who witnessed the sad and rather shameful "performance" by BB King in Auckland's Civic this year (see review here) have walked away embarrassed for King  . . . but thrilled by his opening act, the great Ruthie Foster.

Her joyous, powerful and good humoured (but also deeply sensitive) set of gospel, soul, blues and Motown-styled pop was invigorating and her promise to come back was one a smart promoter would be working on right away.

Grammy-nominated for her album The Truth According to Ruthie Foster, this Texas-born singer/guitarist and songwriter is what some would call "a force of nature" for her rich, powerful delivery and this set -- filmed at Austin's famous club with her band -- covers considerable ground from a bluesy treatment of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's Up Above My Head to a Sam Cooke-kissed take on Lucinda Williams' Fruits of My Labour.

She reaches back for the traditonal Death Came A-Knockin' and Woke Up This Mornin', gets on her producer Papa Mali up for Heal Yourself and duets with singer/guitarist Hadden Sayers on his Back to the Blues.

Excellent up-close camera work and multiple angles take you right down the front at Antone's and there is a five minute interview with Foster in the extras.

Most concert DVD have that "guess you had to be there" factor, but Foster's soulful music, easy banter with the audience and warm humour make you think you are.

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