Ruthie Foster Comes to Harrisburg October 16th!


For one night, Austin musician Ruthie Foster migrates to our Northern capital.

“I love my work. I think that’s my fuel for all that fire onstage.”

So says Rruthie-foster-bootsuthie Foster, a captivating performer who uses her strong, soulful voice to inspire, lift and move audiences.

Foster combines elements of blues, folk, soul, and gospel to create a distinctive style that has won her legions of fans both in the U.S. and abroad. During concerts she exudes energy and passion while moving effortlessly from one powerful song to another.

On October 16th at 7:30 PM, Foster comes to Harrisburg courtesy of the Susquehanna Folk Music Society and the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania. The event will take place at the Abbey Bar of the Appalachian Brewery Company in Harrisburg. Unlike some of the shows held at the Abbey Bar this is a sit-down concert in a listening-room environment. The venue is located at 50 North Cameron Street in Harrisburg. Tickets are $24 General Admission, $21 for SFMS and BSCP members and $10 for students and can be purchased at or at the door.

Although Foster often performs with a band, this show will be solo. She says that she is looking forward to the change in pace.

“I get more freedom with the direction of the show, and can work with the energy in the room differently, she says. “In some ways, playing solo is more relaxing than with the band and in other ways, it’s more challenging.”

Ruthie Foster is one of the most decorated blues artists performing today.

Besides her 2010, 2012 and 2014 Grammy nominations, Ruthie has been recognized by organizations such as the Austin Music Awards (2007, 2008 and 2013 Best Female Vocalist), Blues Music Awards (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Living Blues Awards (2010 Critics’ Poll Winner and 2011 nominee for Blues Female Artist of the Year).

Ruthie says that she’s equally excited about all the awards that she receives.

“They’re all pretty awesome. I don’t think I could pick a favorite. Being recognized is a great honor.”

A native of Gause, Texas, Ruthie is part of a large gospel-singing family and it’s obvious that many of her original songs are influenced by the full throated and joyous music of her youth.

“Music was all around me growing up,” she said.” I sang with my relatives in church and started playing the organ before I could even reach the pedals. On the radio in Texas, I got to listen to everything from Conjunto to blues.”

All that listening has led her to embrace a wide variety of styles. “I think that there’s a little bit of everything in my work, “she said.”I love the old soul, blues and gospel singers like Etta James, Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson and Howlin Wolf. Along with my originals when I perform I also do some Mississippi John Hurt and even a traditional Georgia Sea Islands song called Travelin Shoes.”

Sometimes she’ll throw in a cover song like Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. Her treatment of the song is so innovative, that you might not even recognize this iconic 1960s favorite.

“I like to cover songs that are timeless and still relevant,” she said. “I look for songs that I can do a little something new with it and something that moves my spirit.”

Ruthie wrote about half the songs on her newest album Promise of a Brand New Day. On the CD is a beautiful a capella song, “Brand New Day” which Ruthie wrote for her grandmother.

“I wanted to dedicate this to her and her spirit,” she said. “In church she used to tell us all the time to ‘follow the promise of a brand new day’”

The CD was produced in LA by rapper and bassist Meshell N’degeocello who Ruthie called ‘an inspiring artist’ who was ‘very accommodating’ in the studio.

“She made it very easy for me to just come in and sing,” Ruthie said. “Her playing was impeccable, I’m so proud of this record.”

Now living in Austin, Texas, Ruthie says that she doesn’t get as much time as she’d like to enjoy one of the country’s music meccas.

“I’m out of town so much, I really only get to play there a couple times a year at most,” she said. “But it’s a great place to live, and there is a whole lot of music going on there at any time. “


The Appalachian Brewing Company is located at 50 N. Cameron St in Harrisburg. Concert tickets are $24 general admission and $10 for students. Tickets and information can be found online at or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006. This concert is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lois Lehrman Grass Foundation.


—-This article appeared, with minor adaptations, in The Burg Magazine’s October 2016 edition. Written by Jess Hayden. Used with permissions.




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