Listening to " Healing Time " , the latest incredible release from the remarkable Ruthie Foster , I was enthralled , entranced , mesmerized , and captivated . Ruthie's voice is sensational , a 3-octave instrument that pulsates with sincerity , honesty , and plenty of soul . Pushing her boundaries as a singer and songwriter Ruthie contributed more to the writing process on " Healing Time " than she has done on previous releases . "Healing Time '' brings back the classic soul sides from Ruthie's own record collection , the magic is released , and the stirring majesty of the music is there for all of us to enjoy. The band is rock-solid , sounding refreshingly loose within a live-sounding atmosphere , the perfect compliment to Ruthie's soul-stirring vocals. “With this album, I dug deep and tried to go for the best way to write,” she explains. “This album says a lot about the period we were making it in, and how I wanted to find my way out of it.” Working on " Healing Time " began in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 with Ruthie bringing in long-time collaborators like Gary Nicholson and Grace Pettis to work together during the writing process - and every member of the band was involved as well . “I wanted my band involved in the entire process of this album,” she explains, and they also played a large role in recreating the sound that Foster had become drawn to after spending time with her vinyl collection. “I was aiming to keep these songs sounding like they came from that era, which says a lot about where I am in my life, too.” Recording began at Studio 71 West in Austin , Texas , New Orleans famed Esplanade Studios , and Blue Rock Studio in Wimberly , Texas with veteran producer Mark Howard. “Mark’s ability to turn a song's arrangement upside down was intriguing and sometimes challenging for me,” she states. “It was a lot to wrap my head around, but he made me think outside of the box I didn’t even know I was in.” Producer Dan Barrett took over production duties at Black Pumas co-bandleader Adrian Quesada's famed Electric Deluxe Studio in Austin. Dan brought in Black Puma members along with some of Austin's finest backing musicians. , like Glenn Fukunaga. “With Dan onboard we were able to find the glue to these songs sonically, and he brilliantly melded my familiar Texas blues-Americana sound with what Mark pulled out of me in New Orleans,” Foster says. “This combination gave these songs a breath of fresh air, and it all came together very organically.” " Healing Time " - the title itself refers to life , taking the time to find our way , hope and rediscovery , spiritual healing , redirecting ourselves after all the traumas that we have faced , and will face , on our daily journeys . “I hear fans tell me that the music we make is very spiritually healing,” she says. “The experience of dealing with my own grief after losing a band member a year before the pandemic while navigating around zoom school with my daughter and trying to figure out what to do with myself was tough but necessary. When I look at it as a whole it was all very healing for me which is pretty much how I try to live my life. There’s always time for healing, if you give it time.” Ruthie Foster - "Music, for me, has always been my way of connecting back to myself, if you will. You put it out there and you realize you are not alone. You have witnesses. To me, that is what my fans are, they are my witnesses through my music. It’s a huge deal for me to actually do a show and to sit at the CD table afterward and hear people’s stories as they repeat back to me different parts of songs that I’ve done. I feel with music, we can be in the same room and share the same stories. And people can relate to those stories. If you have ever watched my live shows, one of the things I do is to take people through my life. I talk about my grandmother, I talk about my brother. I give up a little bit of how I grew up. I believe by doing that it helps me connect with my audience and helps them connect with me".
Foster: I really wanted to do something that involved my band, something that we could do together. Because that’s my family – my band is my family. And this is the first time I’ve actually recorded with my band for the most part. Coming out of the pandemic, people were starting to gather a bit, and we were asked to record Austin City Limits, a special show without an audience. That was in January after that first year.
So, I flew my band down for that. Scottie Miller, who wrote the song “Healing Time,” is my piano player and lives in Minneapolis. Hadden Sayers, my guitar player, came from Columbus, Ohio. Brennen Temple is here in Austin, and Larry Fulcher, my bass player, is in Houston. So, everybody came in, and while they were here, we sat and wrote together. That’s how it started: Let’s get everybody back together for some writing sessions and be in the same room after so many months of isolation." " Healing Time " is pure joy , Ruthie lifting us up with her charismatic mix of gospel , blues , folk , soul , and even jazz . Her Gospel roots are in full force here , taking the listener on a journey where loud cries of " Hallelujah " and " Praise the Lord " ring out and pour into the heavens . Ruthie can't be put into a box , and her music reaches out to all people in the deepest way. She gave herself the freedom to expand herself vocally on " Healing Time " , urging all of us to take the time not only to heal ourselves , but to work towards.