Roseanne Cash is a creative partner in the American Byways roots music series at Zankel Hall, and she introduced Ruthie Foster by relating how impressed she was with Foster's inventive reinterpretation of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." Foster on guitar and vocals was backed by her trio (Scottie Miller, keyboards, mandolin, vocals; Samantha Banks, drums, vocals; Larry Fulcher, bass guitar, vocals) and instantly began to smoke with a combustion of red-hot soul, blues, rock, folk, jazz and gospel, all within a set of only 10 songs. Foster's rich and hearty vocals were gutsy and gripping as she blazed through original songs and covers. The quartet came together for ensemble singing on Homer Banks/Bonnie Bramlett/Bettye Crutcher’s poignant "The Ghetto," but she handled Son House’s "People Grinnin’ in Your Face" as a mostly solo a cappella. Like Foster's variation on "Ring of Fire," the entire performance was, well, blazing.
Visit Ruthie Foster at www.ruthiefoster.com.