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Ruthie Foster: A Phenomenal Woman

By Julia Beauregard
Hometown Weekly Editor

There was a full house at Great Hall on Saturday night, as Needhamites braved the icy conditions to bask in the warmth that radiated off of an Austinite soul. 

Ruthie Foster, a decorated musician from Austin, Texas, performed blues, gospel, and soul tunes to a sold-out crowd at Great Hall. The set list consisted of both original tracks, and a few covers from artists that inspired Foster’s musical tenure. 

The band consisted of Ruthie Foster, the lead singer with a powerful voice, who also plays guitar, Larry Fulcher, a two time award-winning bass guitarist, Scotty Miller on the keys, who is a Minnesota Blues Hall of Famer, and Brannen Temple, a three time Grammy award-winning drummer.

This talented and dynamic group grooved together on stage, electrifying the packed crowd; bringing warmth, love, and a whole lot of soul to their Needham spectators. Each and every attendee was entranced by the performance; there was head-bobbing, dancing in seats, singing along, clapping, foot-tapping, and an eruption of applause after each and every song. 

Foster held the crowd in the palm of her hand and transferred the love that radiated off of her spirit to each and every person in that room. Some of the songs performed included, “When It Don’t Come Easy,” “Healing Time,” “The Ghetto,” and “4am,” just to name a few. 

The song that truly captured the hearts of everyone in that room, was not actually a song at all: Ruthie Foster transformed the poem “Phenomenal Woman,” by Dr. Maya Angelou, into a musical masterpiece. The piece began with an angelic piano solo by Miller, which kept listeners on the edge of their seat. 

Once Foster began, her voice was so powerful, it could send shivers up and down your spine. As she sang each and every word, it was clear that she was singing these verses straight from the depths of her heart. It was a wonderful tribute to Maya Angelou and a beautiful homage to Woman’s History Month. 

Every woman in that room felt phenomenal in that moment, as Foster lifted them up and entranced them. This piece received the loudest round of applause and cheers from the crowd. One spectator shouted to Foster, “You are phenomenal!” once the noise from the crowd died down. Foster wore a bright smile on her face and shouted back, “You are too and don’t you ever forget that!”

Ruthie Foster gave a performance of a lifetime to the lucky attendees for this featured program. For more information on this dazzling performer, check out her website: and to stay up-to-date on performances at the Great Hall, go to:

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