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Texan singer songwriter Ruthie Foster used the wonderful acoustics of the Auckland Town Hall to full effect last night as her beautiful and powerful voice filled every last part of the room.

This Grammy Award Nominee was a laid back star who enjoyed every minute of her performance almost as much as her audience did.

With a grin the size of Texas she is one of a lucky few who gets to radiate their love of what they do. Ruthie Foster was simply born to sing, and I believe she would do it audience or not.

Luckily for me there was an audience, and I was in it! There was a lot of love for this performer, who last came to Auckland to support Blues legend BB King and was now back for a whole hour and a half show. Supported by her band she played a mix of folk, country, blues and full blown Gospel, making it a religious experience for us all. Many times she deviated away from the mic, the sheer power of her voice carrying the song.

The show was fantastic and raw, armed with just her guitar and her band she pulled off a brilliant performance. Stand out songs included Phenomenal Women and Travellin’ Shoes.

In between songs she joked and took in the atmosphere of the venue, including being slightly distracted by the Town Halls organ behind her. She said ‘thank you’ for having her and begged to come back and just ‘hang out’ next time. I am sure New Zealand would welcome her back with open arms as it’s a shame we had this amazing talent for only one night. Good thing we made the most of it with dancing in the aisles, singing, stomping and clapping along.

Ruthie Foster is a little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll and 100% the gospel soul voice of her generation.  Thank you Auckland Arts Festival for bringing her back!