Booker T. Jones

Ruthie Foster

DOXA Gospel Ensemble

Friday, November 16 / 8:00 p.m.
A Night of Soulful Blues
DoubleTree by Hilton Reading (Grand Ballroom)
Tickets: Part of Friday All-Day Package / $59
CLICK HERE to order tickets online

Rock and Rock Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Booker T. Jones was one of the architects of the Memphis soul sound of the 1960s as the leader of Booker T. & the MG’s, who scored a number of hits on their own as well as serving as the Stax Records house band.

He arguably is the most famous Hammond B3 player in history with his trademark keyboard chops elevating him into a pillar of soul music.

But Jones’ accomplishments don’t stop there. As a producer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist, he has worked with a remarkable variety of artists such as Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, John Lee Hooker, Soul Asylum and the Roots.

Booker T. & the MG’s enjoyed considerable success in their heyday. In addition to cutting hits and backing such Stax leading artists as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd and Albert King, they toured Europe and the U.K. with the Stax/Volt Revue and accompanied Redding for his legendary set at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

Jones’ productivity in the 1960s is all the more remarkable as he also was a full-time student at Indiana University where he studied composition and music theory while doing shows and recording sessions during weekends and vacations.

After the MG’s broke up in 1971, Jones stayed busy with session work, playing on albums by Bob Dylan, Steven Sills, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge. That year he produced the outstanding debut album by Bill Withers, which featured the hit “Ain’t No Sushine.”

In 1978 he produced Willie Nelson’s triple platinum album Stardust.

In 1992 Booker T. & the MG’s were induced into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and that same year the group reunited for a special high-profile gig, serving as the house band for an all-star tribute to Dylan on his 30th anniversary as a recording artist.

Neil Young, one of the artists who performed at the concert, was impressed enough with the MG’s that he invited them to serve as his backing band for a major concert tour in 1993. The tour sparked new interest in the band and in 1994 they cut a new album and supported it with a number of live dates.

Jones soon returned to a steady schedule of session work and he produced as well as performed on Neil Young’s 2002 album Are You Passionate? and in 2008 Young performed on Jones’ solo album Potato Hole. The album earned enthusiastic reviews and Jones supported the release with a number of live dates in America, Europe and the U.K.

In 2011 Jones returned with The Road from Memphis in which he teamed up with the Roots. In 2013 Jones returned to Stax Records, now under the Concord Records umbrella, for the guest-laden Sound the Alarm.

Ruthie Foster won the Koko Taylor Award for Traditional Blues Female at the 2018 Blue Music Awards. It was her eighth Blues Music Award.

With the release of her latest album Joy Comes Back, the Recording Academy may want to put its engraver on notice. Because every note on it confirms this truth: It’s Ruthie’s time.

Rolling Stone has described the vocal powerhouse as “pure magic to watch and hear.”

Foster has developed a unique sound unable to be contained within a single genre. She mixes a wide palette of American song forms, from gospel and blues to jazz, folk and soul. She often has been compared to Bonnie Raitt and Aretha Franklin.

She also has won three Austin Music Awards, the Grand Prix du Disque Award from the Académie Charles-Cros in France, a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year, and the title of an “inspiring American Artist” as a United States Artists 2018 Fellow.

Reading’s own DOXA Gospel Ensemble, whose name means “praise,” has been featured many times in the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest as guests with other artists, mostly notably in Kirk Whalum’s Gospel According to Jazz Celebration.

The vocal ensemble also has presented its own concerts, including one with special guest Gerald Veasley, the renowned bass player.