Ruf Records' 30th Anniversary Tour
Founded as a one-man operation in 1994, Ruf Records was the spark that lit the fuse for the spectacular mid-90s comeback of Chicago bluesman Luther Allison. Today, the German-based label is one of the most influential players on the international blues scene. In its three decades, Ruf has released hundreds of albums, been home to dozens of top-name blues acts and helped launch the careers of many of today’s most successful artists. What better way to mark this historic birthday than with a stellar package tour featuring three of the label’s hottest acts.
Headliner Bernard Allison has close ties to Ruf that go all the way back to the 1990s. The Chicago native – youngest son of Luther Allison and long-time member of his father’s band – has become a popular artist in his own right while faithfully keeping his dad’s musical legacy alive. Bernard is known for his funky, high-energy performances and explosive style of electric guitar. His most recent studio album, 2022’s Highs & Lows, reached the top position on the Billboard Blues Chart and was nominated as Blues Rock Album of the Year at the 2023 Blues Music Awards. A clear sign that even after thousands of gigs and nearly two dozen albums, this next-generation bluesman is still going strong.
Allison’s co-headliner on the 30th anniversary tour is rising star Ally Venable. Hailing from a small town in East Texas, the singer, guitarist and songwriter has already released three highly-acclaimed LPs on Ruf. Her most recent work, Real Gone, topped the Billboard Blues chart for three weeks in spring 2023. Recorded by Grammy winner Tom Hambridge, the disc showcases Venable’s increasing maturity as a songwriter and is highlighted by cameo appearances from guitar heroes Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa. Just think: She’s done all this before the age of 25. (That’s right, she’s younger than Ruf Records!)
Supporting act Katie Henry is another up-and-coming artist with a bright future. The charismatic singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist broke out in a big way in 2022, winning over audiences on tour with Ruf’s Blues Caravan while releasing her label debut On My Way, picked as one of the year’s top 20 albums by Blues Rock Review. Henry mines the rich musical soil of the 60s and 70s, mixing bluesy, soulful sounds and singing with a vibrato that at times recalls Janis Joplin.