There is optimism within the title of Ruthie Foster's Promise of a Brand New Day, an optimism that's reflected in the music itself. Some of this brightness may be due to Foster's decision to have Meshell Ndegeocello produce this 2014 album, giving the neo-soul singer free rein to hire musicians and choose final takes, but Ndegeocello is hardly imposing her own attitude on Foster. Instead, she focuses on the soulful, kind vibe emanating from Foster, a feeling that infuses the message tunes and songs of love that comprise Promise.
Ruthie FosterPromise of a Brand New Day(Blue Corn)4 out of 5 stars The title of singer/sometime songwriter Ruthie Foster’s ninth studio album implies a break from her impressive past. But Promise of a Brand New Day is actually a consolidation of the various musical genres that have always been and remain a part of Foster’s eclectic yet distinctive style. There’s a fair share of blues (“Singing the Blues”), gospel (a rugged version of the Staple Singers’ “The Ghetto”), country soul (“Outlaw”), R&B (“Second Coming”) and soaring pop (“Learning to Fly”).
Ruthie Foster’s blues credentials are well established. Her last two releases, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster and Let It Burn, received Grammy nominations for Best Blues Album. So it’s unclear why Foster feels compelled to begin her latest disc with a chunky little ditty called “Singing the Blues” that announces while she can sing any style of music, she’s a blues artist at heart.
Ruthie Foster Promise of a Brand New Day (Blue Corn Music) Snagging Grammy nominations for Best Blues Album, Ruthie Foster's previous two LPs now pave the way for the Austinite's eighth effort, Promise of a Brand New Day, which should deliver the same accolade. While the powerhouse singer-songwriter's hallmark vocals, hovering emotively between low and gritty and smooth and soulful, remain the main attraction, the way her producers shade her versatility and harness that stunning voice define much of her sound the past decade. From Papi Mali's hippie-funk infusion on 2007's The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster to the Memphis R&B-backing of 2009's The Truth According To and Southern gospel surge of 2012's John Chelew-helmed Let It Burn, Foster threads through genres without losing her own signature soul.
On her last album, 2012’s Let It Burn, Ruthie Foster put together an incendiary set of soulful, gospel-fueled music that immediately grabbed the listener’s attention and held it tight for nearly an hour. For her follow-up, Foster didn’t repeat her successful formula, however, even with a new approach, she still creates music that burns with intensity. While she rooted Let It Burn with well-chosen covers (ranging from the traditional folk tune, “The Titanic” to the Black Keys’ “Everlasting Light.”), Foster fills Promise Of A New Day with a majority of original songs.