Blues artists to play Bama

Blues artists to play Bama

Grammy-nominated blues artist Ruthie Foster will perform at the Bama Theatre tonight to benefit the Alabama Blues Project.

The renowned singer and guitarist, known for her mix of blues, gospel, folk, soul and R&B, will headline the Alabama Blues Project Benefit Concert. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the opening act will start at 7 p.m.

“She’s got a lot of different influences,” said Cara Smith, program director of the Alabama Blues Project and the primary organizer of the concert. “She’s come from a background of Americana and folk, gospel and blues, and she has a little reggae too. Really there is no one way [to describe her]. In her live concerts, she really just kind of mixes it all up.”

Born in Texas, Foster made music a priority in her life through most of her childhood until she joined the Navy. It was during this break from music that Foster rekindled her fascination with music. She joined the musical group Pride, a Navy ensemble that played popular music and funk at Navy recruitment drives, mostly in the southeastern United States.

After leaving the Navy, Foster branched out as an artist and has released five albums throughout her career. Her most recent album, “The Truth According to Ruthie Foster,” has received strong critical acclaim and was nominated for the 2010 Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

“The Truth According to Ruthie Foster” features help from a myriad of well-known names, like guitarist Robben Ford, who has worked with artists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, keyboardist Jim Dickinson, who has played with the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin, and drummer Rock Deadrick, known for his work with Tracy Chapman and Ben Harper.

Opening for Foster will be the intermediate and advanced bands of the Alabama Blues Project. The Alabama Blues Projects advanced band recently performed in the International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase in Memphis.

“[The Alabama Blues Project is] a non-profit here in Northport, and we preserve the heritage of the Alabama blues,” Smith said. “One of the main ways we do that, what we’re most known for, is that we do award-winning blues camps for at-risk children. We also have school programs, where we go out to places like the Black Belt, places that don’t have any more art and music education because their funding has been cut.”

According to their website, the mission of the Alabama Blues Project is “the preservation of blues music as a traditional and contemporary art form through interactive programs that educate and entertain.”

Founded in 1995, the project has transformed from humble roots to an award-winning organization that celebrates various Alabamian blues artists, past and present.

Cole Mattox, a sophomore majoring in construction engineering, is one of the students very excited about the show.

“Ruthie Foster is one of the better blues artists of the present time,” Mattox said. “She has vocals similar to those of Aretha Franklin and guitar rhythm that will keep your head bobbing from the first track of an album right down to the last second. One thing to remember about her is, being the good Christian woman she is, there’s always a little gospel in her songs.”

Tickets for the show range from $10 to $20 and can be purchased online at or by calling the Alabama Blues Project office at 205-752-6263. A link to purchase tickets can also be found at the Alabama Blues Project’s web site,

For more information about Foster and the Alabama Blues Project, see or

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