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A Tribute to Denise LaSalle

by Aretta Woodruff

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Hit and Run 03:08


Raised in the dirt-road town of Wellington, Alabama, Aretta Woodruff found her voice in the Hopewell Baptist church choir at five years old and has not stopped singing since. A force to be reckoned with, she brings her indefatigable spirit and powerhouse vocals to every performance. Aretta’s talent and commitment to her art have propelled her into fame within the Birmingham Blues and R&B music scene.

Aretta opened for “The Queen of the Blues,” Denise LaSalle on so many occasions that the two became close family friends. Acting as a mentor, Denise would often praise Aretta with “girl you sing my stuff better than I do!” Upon Denise’s passing in 2018 her family gave Aretta their blessing, asking that she carry on Denise’s music.

Aretta chose to cover Denise’s incredible early years, starting with the very first record of young Denise LaSalle’s career titled “Love Reputation.” Aretta adapted the classic song to “Blues Reputation” in tribute to her mentor. A fitting opener to a set of 70s funk, soul, blues and R&B masterpieces. These songs are a truly personal love letter to Denise’s family, in honor of “The Queen.”


released September 8, 2023

Recorded in 2023 in Huntsville, AL and Birmingham, AL.
Aretta Woodruff - vocals; Norman Garner - guitar; Eric Rhoads - guitar, bass; Dan Hoctor - keyboard; Tony Grady - bass; Ardie Dean - percussion; Don Bowyer - trombone; Ken Waters - trumpet; Steve Motz - Baritone Sax; Backing Vocals - Tracy Jackson, Yasmine LeBrun, Summer Barula, Natrickie Louissaint, Neeve Weinberger. Engineered by Bobcat Jackson and Jim Cavender. Produced by Ardie Dean.


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Music Maker Recordings Hillsborough, North Carolina

Music Maker Foundation tends the roots of traditional American music by meeting the day-to-day needs of the artists who create it, ensuring their voices are heard, and giving all people access to our nation’s hidden musical treasures.

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