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Ruthie Foster on Mountain Stage

Ruthie Foster performs during a live taping of the NPR program 'Mountain Stage' at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, October 24, 2021. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for NPR)
Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Mountain Stage
Ruthie Foster performs during a live taping of the NPR program 'Mountain Stage' at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, October 24, 2021. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for NPR)

The versatile Austin, Texas-based vocal powerhouse Ruthie Foster made a return trip to the Mountain Stage during a road show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Raised on gospel in Gause, Texas, Foster showcased the talent that made her a member of the Texas Music Hall of Fame and an artist who has performed with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to The Allman Brothers.

"... Wow, what a great introduction, I feel like I should be standing up straight and all of that," Foster laughed, following host Kathy Mattea's listing of her many awards and accolades.

Foster came onto the Mountain Stage solo, opening with "Brand New Day" before singing her rendition of "Ring of Fire," a melody-rich send up of June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore's original which featured on her fourth Grammy-nominated album, Live at the Paramount.

Showcasing many shades of her musical palette in the four song set, the Mountain Stage Band joins Foster to rock an original "Singing the Blues" and a glorious, guitar-filled cover of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Up Above My Head."

"I'm just passing on, singing the same old song," Foster sings, "Sometimes it feels so right, and I don't feel all alone / When the music fades and the crowd drives away / I'm staring at a mirror, just singing the blues."

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