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Ruthie Foster (Quietly) Tells The Truth

Texas-born, guitar-strumming singer Ruthie Foster is usually assigned to the category of "blues" — she was even nominated for "traditional blues female artist of the year" at the Blues Music Awards earlier this month. But Foster is no traditional blues artist. Consider "I Really Love You" from her new album, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster. True, her words display an indigo hue, and she's singing to a guy who isn't that into her, pleading, "If you could only feel all the love I have for you." But she's not hitting him over the head with a gutbucket blues growl. Her warm and grainy voice is utterly conversational, totally natural and effortlessly charming.

What's more, the song features a rippling reggae beat, a whistling organ that seems to have strolled over from a '60s soul band and a trumpet solo by Memphis Horns ace Wayne Jackson, who mutes his instrument for the well-known "wah-wah" effect. If this is the blues, it is, to paraphrase the title of her CD, the blues according to Ruthie Foster.

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Marc Silver
Marc Silver, who edits NPR's global health blog, has been a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Jewish Times, U.S. News & World Report and National Geographic. He is the author of Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond and co-author, with his daughter, Maya Silver, of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice From Real-Life Teens. The NPR story he co-wrote with Rebecca Davis and Viola Kosome -- 'No Sex For Fish' — won a Sigma Delta Chi award for online reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.