Feb 07, 2014 - 7:30 pm
Eric Bibb and Ruthie Foster
Eric Bibb and Ruthie Foster – Thanks for the Joy
Friday February 7, 7:30 PM
Reserved: Adults $32 advance, $35 day of show; Students $20
Performing on their own and together, longtime friends and collaborators Ruthie Foster and Eric Bibb join forces to celebrate a night of joyful roots music.
Eric Bibb – Already enjoying success in Europe, Grammy nominee Eric Bibb is becoming a familiar face – and voice – in the U.S. Nominated for nine W.C. Handy Blues Music Awards and winner of the Best Newcomer title in the British Blues Awards, Bibb has been appropriately described as “discreetly awesome” and “a total original.” As his popularity escalates, earlier comparisons to legendary greats Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal are being replaced by quotes that speak to Bibb’s ability to “use standard blues ingredients to cook up something all his own.”
Bibb is a native New Yorker with deep roots in the American blues and folk tradition. The son of 1960s folk and musical theater singer and television personality Leon Bibb, Eric’s uncle was the jazz pianist and composer John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Paul Robeson was his godfather. As a boy, he was surrounded by major musical figures of the times. By age 19 he was playing in Parisian restaurants, and has been based primarily in Europe ever since.
A breakout performance at the 1996 London Blues Festival catapulted Eric to a higher level of visibility, especially in Britain. Since then he has toured the world, performing at major festivals. He joined Robert Cray on U.S. tours in 2001 and 2002 and opened shows for Ray Charles.
As a recording artist, Eric earned a Grammy nomination for his collaboration (with Taj Mahal and others) on the children’s record, Shakin’ A Tailfeather. Painting Signs was recognized by “New Age Voice” as a Finalist for Best Folk Album of 2001. He joined Maria Muldaur and Rory Block to record the gospel-flavored Sisters & Brothers, and then released Friends, a collection of duets with Taj Mahal, Odetta, and others. Recent recordings on Telarc include A Ship Called Love and Diamond Days.
Bibb’s rich and sensitive vocals and lyrics provide a perfect balance to his fine finger picking technique. Purveying a beautifully realized and deftly accomplished soulful folk-blues, Bibb has no problem blending various genres effortlessly, melding a traditional rootsy American style with a subtle, contemporary sensibility.
A performance by Eric Bibb is an enriching experience — both musically and spiritually. His music, like his personality, is intimate, assured and passionate, drawing listeners into the moment more as participants than spectators. In the words of “House of Blues Radio Hour” host Elwood Blues, “You are what the blues in the new century should be about.”
Ruthie Foster – Those who have followed Ruthie Foster's eclectic musical history know that she can burn down any stage with her combustible blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel. When Grammy Award-winning producer John Chelew suggested she record an album in New Orleans with support handpicked from the Crescent City's overflowing pool of talent, it was an opportunity for Ruthie to infuse fresh spices into her already rich sonic gumbo. The result was Let It Burn, released in January 2012 release on Blue Corn Music, a recording that smolders, sizzles and ignites with an intensity born from her vibrant voice and indelible presence.
Ruthie Foster’s astonishing voice has taken her on an amazing ride. She came from humble church choir beginnings in rural Texas, followed by a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy Band, and ended up in New York City with a major-label development deal that went sour. After she moved back to Texas to care for her ailing mother, Foster took a break from singing professionally for a couple of years. When she resumed her music career in Austin, she became a regular nominee at the Austin Music Awards, winning Best Folk Artist in 2004-05 and Best Female Vocalist in 2007-08. Broadening her sound by blending blues and soul aspects into her folk roots, Ruthie added a Grammy nomination to her list of achievements (Best Contemporary Blues Album for her last studio release, 2009's The Truth According to Ruthie Foster). And, in a nod to her astounding range, she then won seemingly contradictory Blues Music Association awards for both Best Traditional and Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist in back-to-back years.
In addition to leading her own band and touring it around the world, Foster has also collaborated on stage and recordings with a diverse list of artists including Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Bibb and Paul Thorn. She's a regular favorite at an equally diverse list of festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Monterey Blues Festival, Merlefest and the Kate Wolf Festival.
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