Ruthie Foster 

Ruthie Foster's talent is no longer a whispered secret. The singer-songwriter is busting out of obscurity with 2009's Grammy-nominated The Truth According to Ruthie Foster. A soulful singer and guitarist, she grew up in a family of church gospel performers; it's no wonder that her music draws frequent comparisons with Aretha Franklin. Foster has played music her whole life — even during her stint in the Navy, where she led a cover band that toured the country playing recruitment drives. Foster's arrangements cleverly blend gospel, soul, blues and folk, invoking their interrelation without bowing to convention. A listener hears hints of this free-spirited fusion in the slightly psychedelic slide guitar slipped into "Fruits of My Labor," or a '60s girl-group sweetness spiced with Hendrix-like funk on "Stone Love." Atlantic once wanted Foster to sing pop ballads, but she decided to make her own way instead. Now she's making the label wish it had trusted her instincts.

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