Ruthie Foster comes to Burnaby for Blues Fest

On Aug. 8, Grammy-nominated blues singer Ruthie Foster returns to Burnaby to help headline the city’s annual blues festival.   

Foster, along with 11 other acts, is part of the 2015 lineup for the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival at Deer Lake Park.

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While August will mark the first time she has performed in Burnaby, Foster has visited many times while staying with friends, and said that she is very grateful for the forgiving summers here.

“I love Canada, it’s a lot cooler than Texas.”

Born in Gauss, Texas, Foster was introduced to music at a young age, playing piano and singing for her church’s gospel choir, something that continues to influence her music today.

Foster mainly plays the guitar and is entirely self-taught, something she credits with making her own style more fluid and dynamic.

“It opened my ear up to a lot of different styles when they come my way,” said Foster.

There are regional differences regarding the ways in which blues musicians play, according to Foster. A Mississippi blues player might employ a picking style, where individual strings are plucked, adding emphasis to each note, whereas a musician hailing from the plateau of the Carolinas might have a more ragtime sound.

The three-time Austin Music Awards recipient admits she is very much a student of the game and has incorporated something from every sub-genre of blues into her own music.

“You never stop growing,” said Foster about music and life in general.

The industry veteran of 18 years plans on continuing to improve both as a musician and as a person and is currently devoting herself to learning French.

Despite all of her travels and the critical acclaim, Foster promises that she is never satisfied, abd even for a professional of her calibre, Foster admits that her creative process isn’t always the smooth operation she would hope for.

“Sometimes the music’s with you, and sometimes she’s on vacation. … You got to know when it’s time to put the pen down and take a walk,” Foster said.

With racial tensions running high in the Southern United States, Foster believes that music still has the ability to bring people together so they can hash out their issues.

Foster touched on her earlier comments about regional differences in music and how the same can be said for people.

“We’ve got people looking at each other as different when we’re really all the same. … Music is a universal language and I think it has a way of bringing these talks to the table, yeah.”

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