Soul singer Ruthie Foster plays at the Bama Thursday

from The Tuscaloosa News on

Ruthie Foster grew up in central Texas, at the epicenter of a diverse musical family.

“My family was huge involved in the church, a lot of my uncles and aunts sang,” said Foster, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter who will perform Thursday at the Bama Theatre.

“When I got old enough, it was just my turn to sing,” she said.

Her influences are various enough to sound like a cross-section of America. From her grandmother, she learned church-style piano, though she picked up a guitar at the same time, around 12, influenced by the pop singers she saw on '70s TV variety shows. Her mother instilled in her a love of gospel like Andrae Crouch and the Edwin Hawkins Singers. But mom was also a fan of the minister and civil rights activist the Rev. C.L. Franklin, who had a soul-singing daughter named Aretha.

“I had an uncle — my mother's younger brother, so he was a little closer to my age — who drove a truck,” Foster said. “He had a huge vinyl collection and would drop his records off at our house,” dripping soul like Al Green, and blues like Z.Z. Hill.

“My dad was into Lightnin' Hopkins and Muddy Waters; I cut my teeth on that kind of stuff on guitar. My grandaddy was a huge country fan. I had uncles who had records of Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty.

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