Ruby Amanfu steps into solo spotlight


NAS — Ruby Amanfu knows how to share the stage, but during a recent dinner party in Nashville, Tennessee, she was the star of the stage and the kitchen as she prepared a meal featuring peanut butter soup and fried plantains, then stood in the living room and belted out a song.

Born in Ghana but raised in Music City, the soulful singer won critical acclaim for her acoustical duo with Sam Booker called Sam & Ruby. She caught the attention of rocker Jack White, who enlisted her into his band for his solo album “Blunderbuss.” Last fall Amanfu sang with Hozier on his North American tour.

Now she’s reintroducing herself as a solo artist with her new album of mostly deep-cut cover songs. “Standing Still” features her interpretations of songs by Bob Dylan, Brandi Carlile and Kanye West among others.

“This was very new for me,” Amanfu said. “It’s been a long time since I have stepped out and taken center stage.”

She tried the solo route as a singer and songwriter, but has found the most success working with other singers and musicians. She found inspiration to sing solo again when she performed Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet” during a benefit concert in 2013.

Amanfu recorded “Standing Still” over five days in a log cabin in rural Leiper’s Fork, about 30 miles southwest of Nashville.

Amanfu also hopes fans of her collaborative work will stick with her as she goes it alone.