JOY COMES BACK
Blue Corn Music
A Broken Heart Never Sounded Sweeter or More Soulful.
I’d not heard of Multi-Award Winner Ruthie Foster until her last album Promise of a Brand New Day in 2014 when I fell in love with her.
That album has been a bit of an antidote to many sad things in my life over the last couple of years so my heart skipped a beat when I received this album.
As a professional singer Ruthie can turn her hand to most things; and do them very well indeed; but for this she hand-picked 10 contrarily diverse songs that each told a deeply personal story that reflected the comings and goings in her life during a relationship break-up that included the custody of her 5 year old daughter……..so don’t expect many laughs.
The album opens with a rich and emotional take on Chris Stapleton’s What Are You Listening To? Ye gads; this song not only tugs at your heartstrings but ties them in knots then sets fire to them.
A great start; and somehow things manage to get even better and even more cerebral!
I have another version of Mississippi John Hurt’s Richland Woman Blues, but it sure don’t sound nothing like this exuberant, swinging version that features some smoking fiddle and mandolin from Warren Hood; but the song itself is now all Ruthie Fosters.
There are only a couple of up-tempo songs here; of which that was one the other that stands out is the Gospel flavoured Joy Comes Back featuring Derek Trucks on a guitar that smoulders as Ruthie loses herself in the sentiment of Sean Staples majestic lyrics.
When you put the songs in context; this album becomes a late night, smoky, tightly wrapped beacon of hope and love. We’ve all been there……and if we could we would all like to be the person singing Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever the way Ruthie Foster does.
I’d not heard either before but Ruthie Foster turns Abraham and Good Sailor into spell-binding and spine tingling, earnest and beautiful Folk songs that are so full of Soul they actually overflow at times.
The title track Joy Comes Back could actually have been written for this project; as the words sum up exactly what Ruthie must have been going through and thinking; and the way she delves back into her Gospel and Blues roots to find the strength to pour her hear out is staggering.
It won’t take a genius to work out this album will feature in numerous Top 10’s and Award Ceremonies at the end of 2017; but two sing here will singularly feature as ‘Songs of the Year.’
First one, Working Woman is call to arms for women every where, with Ruthie screwing here eyes tightly closed as she verbally punches out the chorus in a way I’ve not heart since Aretha was in her pomp!
The other is the first song I went to……because when I saw the title I thought “it can’t be….can it? Surely not….hopefully not!” But For some inexplicable reason she has chosen to include……War Pigs by Black Sabbath!
Aaaaagghh; it’s a horrible noise fest in it’s original format but…..and I don’t know how she has done this; she has turned it into a gutsy Country-Blues song full of punchy drumming, wailing mouth-harp and a ……melody straight from the outskirts of Hellfire County.
Apparently in her younger days Ruthie worked in the Navy, servicing helicopters and her colleagues loved their Heavy Metal, hence this selection……which has absolutely blown me away and given me a new found respect for The Sabs songwriting skills.
Every song here was selected because, in some way it ‘told a story’ and everything is rounded off quite perfectly with the finale; Forgiven……a song only a woman with a huge heart could sing.
As I’ve said before, there’s no point in covering a song if it still sounds like the original and here Ruthie Foster puts her own intimitable hallmark on every single song…..and in doing so has made one of the best Soul (?) albums I’ve ever heard.
Released 24th March 2017